North Wales Quarrying Museum Collection

Scope and Content

Records relating to quarrying in North Wales, 1852-1984, collected by the North Wales Quarrying Museum, including records of Dinorwic Quarry, 1860-1969; Penrhyn Quarry records, 1916-1975; records of other quarries, 1852-1984; Vivian family papers, 1900-1901; miscellaneous family papers, 1882-1984; miscellaneous, 1894-[c.1980]; and photographs, c.1875-1965.

Administrative / Biographical History

[add note on history of the museum here) The slate quarries at Dinorwic and Penrhyn, Caernarfonshire, became the largest slate quarries in the world during the 19th century. Slate quarrying at Dinorwic, dates back to the 18th century. In 1787, Thomas Assheton-Smith (1752-1828) of the Faenol estate, leased his workings to the Dinorwig Slate Company, a partnership of two solicitors, Ellis and Wright, and Mr Bridges, a merchant. By 1809, only Wright remained, but was joined by Hugh Jones, a Dolgellau banker and Assheton-Smith himself. The quarrying operation expanded during the late 19th employed more than 3,500 workers. During the 20th century, however, the slate industry declined, although Dinorwic remained one of the primary sources of slate in Wales. Eventually, Dinorwic Quarries Co. Ltd was forced to close in 1969. W. W. Vivian was manager of Dinorwic Quarries at the beginning of the 20th century. The Penrhyn estate was a predominant source of slate from the early 16th century, but it was not until the late 18th century that slate quarrying became a major industry. The Penrhyn Quarry at Bethesda was owned by the Pennant family until management and part ownership was passed to the McAlpine construction group in 1964. The operation was sold to the company in 1973.


Arranged into the following: Dinorwic Quarry records, including financial, production, sales, staff and wages, accident and safety, administration, posters, Dinorwic dry dock, Ministry of Supply Returns, railway and locamotive records, coal books, maps, plans and drawings, miscellaneous; Penrhyn Quarry records, including production, staff and wages, accident and safety records, administration, posters, plans and miscellaneous; Other quarry records, including Cwm Machno Quarry, Nant Ddu Quarry and miscellaneous; Family papers including Vivian family and miscellaneous; Other records; and photographs.

Access Information

No restrictions

Acquisition Information

Source not recorded


Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Caernarfon Record Office, Casgliad Amgueddfa Chwareli Llechi Gogledd Cymru/ North Wales Quarrying Museum Collection, catalogue; Slatesite, ( viewed 9 September 2004; Richards, Alun John, Slate Quarrying in Wales (Llanrwst, 1995).

Other Finding Aids

Hard copies of the catalogue are available in Caernarfon Record Office and the National Library of Wales.

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 relating to Dinorwic Quarry is Caernarfon Record Office, XDQ.