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The Welsh Slate Industry.
 Slate roof at Castell Coch 
Welsh slates from the quarries of North Wales were once widely used for roofing in Britain. Slate was used for billiard tables and blackboards and decorative fireplaces made from enamelled slate are still to be seen in some 19th Century houses. Nowadays, it is rare to see a new house roofed in slate. The slate industry still exists, albeit on a much smaller scale and we presume that the availability of cheaper alternatives has led to the decline of a once famous Welsh product. 

This picture shows workmen putting new slates on the roof of Castell Coch (The Red Castle) near Cardiff. 

Wales has some of the best museums in the world. The National Museum in Cardiff and the Museum of Welsh Life at St. Fagans are justly famous but there are several smaller museums dedicated to specific aspects of Welsh history. One of these is the Welsh Slate Museum at Llanberis in the county of Gwynedd, North Wales. 

The museum is housed in the old maintenance workshops of the Dinorwig slate quarry, once one of the world's largest. It features a massive working water wheel, a narrow gauge steam locomotive, a forge and loco shed, craft workshops and demonstrations. Call 01286 870630 for details of special events and opening times. If you'd like to see an old photograph of the slate works and the surrounding landscape (courtesy of an Australian visitor to the website) check here
 John Weston


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