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More Welsh slate mining history from Dave Sallery.

The photo above is of a Derelict and roofless quarrymen’s barracks at Dinorwic Quarry in Wales.

Conditions for the quarrymen were harsh in the extreme and accidents were frequent. Unguarded machinery, roof falls and lung diseases all took their toll. Working underground in the industry was more dangerous than in coal mining. Health and safety legislation was non existent. As many of the workers had come to the quarrying towns to seek work they had to take what was offered. Conditions in the quarry barracks and lodging houses were appalling but in spite of all this a great spirit of comradeship grew up.

Barracking was common practice in the industry. Men would arrive for work early on a Monday morning and remain there until lunchtime on Saturday. Many of the barracks were damp, cold and miserable places to spend the week but often the quarry was too remote to make daily travel a realistic possibility. The barracks and cabins (quarry messrooms) did however develop into great social institutions where politics and religion were debated fervently.

Words and photo by kind permission of Dave Sallery. For more information from his tremendous website, please click here.

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Peter Phillips