First things first - this place is a death-trap. Simple as that. And it's quite likely to be worse now than it was when I went. But as I have a bit of an obsession about redundant old cinemas and theatres I left all common sense at the entrance.
The building still shows signs of its grand past but sadly any possibility of saving it looks pretty slim, although a Trust has been set up to try to preserve it and bring it back into use.
The four-storey building, designed by G. B. Rawcliffe, opened in 1894 as a music hall, before being converted to a cinema in 1938. It was last used as a bingo hall in 1995.
^^^ Not sure about that!
First vid upload for a while, although I have not stopped exploring.
Should be more videos coming up soonish
This gothic mansion was once owned by a doctor who released a mental health patient who sadly went on
to stab an 11 yr old girl to death. I believe he was pretty much chased out of his home by locals (they may or may not of have had burning torches)
Nice place though, there used to be more cars, but sadly there gone now.
The car is a 1964 humber super snipe
and yes I know I spelt doctor wrong on the vid title god knows why
This was my first ever trip down a mine. So a massive thanks to @EOA for making it happen and another massive thanks to @monk and his daughter for being excellent guides.
It was bloody awesome, I could've spent all day poking around the sheds at the top tbh. Underground however was just amazing. It's bloody big this place so a return visit over a couple of days with many more mine beers is a must.
History copied from the ever faithful Wikipedia. Obviously.
Maenofferen was first worked for slate by men from the nearby Diphwys quarry shortly after 1800. By 1848 slate was being shipped via the Ffestiniog Railway, but traffic on the railway ceased in 1850. In 1857 traffic resumed briefly and apart from a gap in 1865, a steady flow of slate was dispatched via the railway. The initial quarry on the site was known as the David Jones quarry which was the highest and most easterly of what became the extensive Maenofferen complex.
In 1861 the Maenofferen Slate Quarry Co. Ltd. was incorporated, producing around 400 tons of slate that year. The company leased a wharf at Porthmadog in 1862 and shipped 181 tons of finished slate over the Ffestiniog Railway the following year.
During the nineteenth century the quarry flourished and expanded, extending its workings underground and further downhill towards Blaenau Ffestiniog. By 1897 it employed 429 people with almost half of those working underground. The Ffestiniog Railway remained the quarry's major transport outlet for its products, but there was no direct connection from it to the Ffestiniog's terminus at Duffws. Instead slate was sent via the Rhiwbach Tramway which ran through the quarry. This incurred extra shipping costs that rival quarries did not have to bear.
In 1908 the company leased wharf space at Minffordd, installing turntables and siding to allow finished slates to be transshipped to the standard gauge railway there.
In 1920 the company solved its high shipping costs by building a new incline connecting its mill to the Votty & Bowydd quarry and reaching agreement to ship its products via that company's incline connection to the Ffestiniog Railway at Duffws.
Modern untopping operations at Maenofferen. The uncovered chambers of the Bowydd workings are clearly visible
In 1928 Maenofferen purchased the Rhiwbach quarry, continuing to work it and use its associated Tramway until 1953.
When the Ffestiniog Railway ceased operation in 1946, Maenofferen leased a short length of the railway's tracks between Duffws station and the interchange with the LMS railway, west of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Slate trains continued to run over this section until 1962, Maenofferen then becoming the last slate quarry to use any part of the Ffestiniog Railway's route. From 1962 slate was shipped from the quarry by road, although the internal quarry tramways including stretches of the Rhiwbach tramway continued in use until at least the 1980s.
The quarry was purchased by the nearby Llechwedd quarry in 1975 together with Bowydd, which also incorporated the old Votty workings: these are owned by the Maenofferen Company. Underground production at Maenofferen ceased during November 1999 and with it the end of large-scale underground working for slate in north Wales. Production of slate recommenced on the combined Maenofferen site, consisting of "untopping" underground workings to recover slate from the supporting pillars of the chambers. Material recovered from the quarry tips will also be recovered for crushing and subsequent use.
Anyway onto my poto’s
My first ever photo down a mine.
The small funeral chapel was an accidental find. The chapel is located a bit seclusively in an area which is off the beaten track anyway. But the area around it appears to be pretty neat. The chapel hardly catches anybody´s eyes. Only the exact observer will spot it. That might be the reason why the shmall church is still in a pretty good condition.
You´ll approach and explore a very peaceful place. A metall door, that leads into the cellar, is half-open. You can´t see anything but darkness. I walk by the door and enter the chapel from behind through an open door. As soon as I had entered the chapel, It appeared to me that this place wasn´t an ordinary chapel. It was obviously used as a funeral chapel. The first room you´ll enter is a tiled room, which was apparently used for washing and preparing the bodies before burial. After that you´ll reach the actual chapel. which was used for funeral ceremonies. An old, red carpet is still lying around and a big cross is still painted on the wall. In the attic you´ll find the former staff rooms.
While my fellow-urbexers were taking their photos in the chapel, I remembered the door leading into the cellar. So I went to explore the cellar on my own. Cellars have never been my favorite place but after knowing about the purpose of this chapel it definitely didn´t help to feel better. I had barely squeezed through the door when I saw the construction on the stairs, which was obviously used for the transportation of the bodies up and down the stairs. Someone had placed a broken cruzifix on it. I went down the stairs following them into the pitch-dark cellar. I was right in the middle of the former morgue of the chapel. An old apron was hanging on the door, a wooden cross leaning against the wall. Even old utensils for preparing the bodies. In a side room was the former cooling room with the mortuary refrigerator (tightly closed). In the next small room you could find old coffin lids. My eyes became gradually adjusted to the darkness, which let the place appear less scary.
When my friends started to capture the cellar, I waited on an old stone bench. It was a wonderfull autumn´s day. I really felt the tranquility of this place. If these walls could talk, this place could tell many stories of grief and goodbyes. Yet, the peacefulness and the location of this place even comforted me. Such a nice place to say good-bye.
The small chapel is idyllically situated on the hillside. Standing at the foot of the hill, the building is almost invisble. Thanks to the season, the knowing eye is able to spot the chapel between the sparse vegetation. Following up the slope for few minutes, a small weather-beaten wall appears. Climibing up the wall, there´s a small, overgrown path to follow.
Inside the chapel it´s silent. Peaceful. The roof is full of holes - traces of the ravages of time. Ivy climbs steadily through the biggest of them. There´s still a large crucifix on the wall. The detailed depiction of Jesus is still in an unbelievable excellent condition. While Jesus looks as good as new, everything around him is decaying relentlessly.
Unfortunately, I hardly have any information about the chapel. Old commemorative plaques testify that the chapel was probably errected by a local noble family. The building should be far more than 100 years old by now.