Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union

Scope and Content

Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union, 1879-1961, including Union minute books, 1881-1933; lodge minutes, 1881-1927; accounts and balance sheets, 1909-1955; cash books and ledgers, 1885-1922; Union rolls, 1887-[c. 1913]; contributions books, 1887-1889; benefit registers, 1908-1922; receipts, 1917-1922; lodge records, 1895-1961; records relating to the annual conference and labour festival, 1898-1957; Union letter books, 1896-1939; lodge letter books, 1918-1921; correspondence, 1905-1955; Dinorwic Branch correspondence, 1892-1895; Union Solicitors records, 1900-1921; printed material, 1925-1939; records relating to the Penrhyn Strikes, 1896-1904; quarry records, 1924-1944; records relating to Dinesydd Publishing Co., 1925-1929; minutes of the Caernarvon Labour Council, 1912-1927; minutes of Gwyrfai Local Tribunal, 1916; memoranda books of Caernarvon Labour Party, 1924-1928; papers relating to the parliamentary candidature of R. T. Jones, 1915-1922; and miscellaneous papers, 1884-1932.

Administrative / Biographical History

The North Wales Quarrymen's Union (NWQU) was formed by workers at the Dinorwic Quarry, Caernarfonshire, in April 1874. The Union soon spread to Penrhyn Quarry and the rest of the North Wales slate areas. The Union consisted of several lodges, including Bethesda, Cesarea, Dinorwic, Ffestiniog, Nantlle and Dolwyddelan. Penrhyn Quarry was the site of major strikes. In 1896, the quarrymen had been locked out for eleven months because of a dispute between the workers and the owners, concerning the minimum wage. On that occasion, the workers were forced to return to work without gaining any concessions. On 22 November 1900, nearly 3,000 men walked out of the Penrhyn Quarry. The strike eventually ended in 1903 without resolving the main issue of Union recognition. In 1922, the NWQU membership voted to become part of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU). However it continued to have a separate identity and maintained complete control over its internal affairs until 1960, when it became the TGWU (North Wales).


Arranged into the following: Union minutes; Lodge minutes; Union accounts and balance sheets; Cash books and ledgers; Union roll and contribution books; Receipts; Lodge records; Programmes etc. relating to annual conference and labour festival; Union letter books; Lodge letter books; Correspondence files and general correspondence; Branch correspondence; Union solicitors' records; General union papers; Printed material; Papers relating to the Penrhyn strikes; Contributions to other strikes; Quarry company records; Records of Dinesydd publishing company; Minutes of Caernarvon Labour Council; Minutes etc. of Gwyrfai Local Tribunal; Papers relating to Caernarvon Labour Party; Papers relating to parliamentary candidature of R. T. Jones; and Miscellaneous.

Access Information

No restrictions


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Caernarfon Record Office, Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union, catalogue; Jones, R. Merfyn, The North Wales Quarrymen 1874-1922 (Cardiff, 1982); Warwick University: Modern Records Centre website (, viewed 1 December 2004.

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available in Caernarfon Record Office and the National Register of Archives. The catalogue is available online.

Conditions Governing Use

Usual copyright regulations apply.

Appraisal Information

All records deposited at Caernarfon Record Office have been retained.


Accruals are not expected

Related Material

Further material is Caernarfon Record Office, XM/1379 and National Library of Wales, William John Parry MSS, MSS 8733-8741.