Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  

UK Rhiwbach Slate Mine - North Wales - March -2016

Recommended Posts

Visited with @The Kwan 

We popped in here on the way to somewhere else, great location and well worth a look if your in the area.

Pic 6 is lit from the bottom up 50 feet down with a product fail on a 2 day old Lenser :(

Some history

Rhiwbach Slate Quarry, along with Blaen y Cwm, differed from all other quarries in the slate industry in one important aspect. The exit incline from the quarry for the finished product led up and not down. The classic balanced incline, by which the outward loaded slate wagons brought up the empty wagons by gravity, was not possible. The answer for the quarry was to build a substantial engine house to power the incline from the bottom, with the haulage wire passing around a sheave at the top. This engine house also powered the quarry machinery and the underground inclines. The remains of the engine house are a notable feature of the quarry with the tall chimney still an imposing sight.
The quarry was started at the beginning of the 19th century on a site to the South of the later main workings. This area developed into a deep pit working which has now flooded. This part of the quarry was worked out by the 1880's and work transferred to the present site. The pit working here, started in the 1860's, was later developed extensively underground to encompass eight levels. Drainage of the underground workings was through a tunnel which began 350 feet below the surface and emerged onto the side of Cwm Penmachno. The entrance to this drainage tunnel may still be seen today. When the quarry first opened, the slate was taken down on horseback into Cwm Penmachno and eventually to the quay at Trefriw on the Conwy. Later the finished product was taken out in the opposite direction, around the shoulder of Manod Mawr and down to the Afon Dwyryd below Maentwrog.

The Rhiwbach Tramway opened in 1863 and revolutionised the transport arrangements for the quarry. A wharf was opened in Porthmadog and from then on all slate went out along the tramway and down the Ffestiniog Railway. In 1908 the quarry started to use the exchange sidings at Minffordd to transfer their product to the national rail network.
This quarry was one of the most remote in the industry and it was frequently cut off for long periods in bad weather. Because of this, the living quarters almost reached village status. The quite extensive remains of which includes family accommodation, a shop and a school house as well as the barracks for the single men.
Although the quarry occupies a large area, the annual output rarely exceeded 6000 tons and it was closed down several times for quite long periods. Electricity was introduced to the site in 1934 which somewhat relieved the hardships of life at this remote location. The last workers at the quarry still barracked on site and this is believed to be the last quarry where this practice took place. The quarry finally closed in 1951 and all the machinery was removed.

Pics 1.

























Thanks for looking 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Lavino said:

Quality photos there lee. I loved it here when I went..


Cheers mate, its deff a great place for some decent photos, hope all is well your end :) 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mate those pics came out really nice, I love the clean blueness of the water in picture 8. Would make an ace postcard that shot :) 



Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Really nice set, I especially like the pics 4 & 8 with the light from the background.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, Paul_c said:

Best photos from this place yet Lenny, good that there was a happy ending with the Lensor :)


Thanks mate, need to get a few more of these arranged very shortly, thanks again for showing me around, always a pleasure :) 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Lenston said:


Thanks mate, need to get a few more of these arranged very shortly, thanks again for showing me around, always a pleasure :) 

What, arrange losing some more Lensors :)  its always good to catch up with you man :thumb.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By little_boy_explores
      Bretton Hall Gymnasium
      The history
      A teacher training college founded by Alec Clegg. The collage boasted in the design and the architecture of the veroius 'new' buildings scattered around the collage campus including the Gymnasium and the student centre. The collage merged with the University of Leeds in August 2001. Most of the music, fine art and teacher training courses were moved to the Leeds campus, but visual and performing arts education and creative writing remained at the Bretton site, which became home to the University's School of Performance and Cultural Industries. The Gymnasium also stayed but later became disused. The building now is a showdow of its former glory.

      The explore
      Ive always fancied to have a look around this building and never got the chance too... until recently. Its quite an unusual looking building but that said it would make a very nice modern Gym. Entry was fairly easy if you have common sense, and its nice to get out with a new member. Theres not much really else to say about this building... just watch out for the tourist who don't share the same interest as you when it comes to abandonment. 
      The pictures 











      @SILVERSKULL2004 if your still on the forum nice meeting you and a good mooch that...
      Cheers for reading I know it's a bit of a small one but o'well
    • By a World in Ruins
      Visited on a freezing cold snowy Sunday morning with Scrappy NW and Katy. Long overdue visit this one but access isn't always possible. Inside its dark and decrepit yet enough remains to get an idea of how it looked when it was in full flow. The stage area was a no go as it has now collapsed. Structuraly it was fairly sound even in the upper areas. Things were made to last in 1894 obviously.
      Theatres have so much history and are always wonderful places to explore and photograph even if  their condition is so poor. On with some history.
      I'm sure you have all read the history of this pace in other reports but i'll put a brief summary here:
      The Burnley Empire Theatre has a profoundly poignant history that starts in the 19th Century when it was first designed by GB Rawcliffe in 1894. Owned and managed by WC Horner, it was a theatre of high regard and continued to such following works in 1911, when the auditorium was redesigned by Bertie Crewe, well respected architect, much of whose work is no longer standing – pulled down to make way for housing, shops or other amenities, or victims of the war that destroyed so many beautiful buildings.
      The interior boasts ‘two slightly curved wide and deep balconies, terminating in superimposed stage boxes framed between massive Corinthian columns supporting a deep cornice. Segmental-arched proscenium, with richly decorated spandrels and heraldic cartouche. Side walls feature plaster panels, pilasters and drops. Flat, panelled ceiling with circular centre panel and central sun burner. Restrained heraldic and Greek plasterwork on balcony and box fronts’ .
      The Theatre opened on Monday the 29th of October 1894 with a variety show and could originally seat 1,935 people.
      During its time as a theatrical venue, Charlie Chaplin, Margot Fonteyn and Gracie Fields are just a few of the names to have appeared on the now broken stage.
      In 1938 The Theatre was converted for cinema use by the Architects Lewis and Company of Liverpool, and the seating capacity was reduced to 1,808 in the process.
      Like so many other Theatres around the Country the Empire was eventually converted for Bingo use in 1970 but even this ceased in 1995 and the Theatre, despite being a Grade II Listed building, has been empty ever since and is in serious decline, and listed as one of the Theatres Trust's buildings at risk.
      On with the pics














    • By Landie_Man
      Ida Darwin Hospital, Cambridge, September 2017/Jan 2018         
      Another year, another one of Landies big backlogs!   I first did this site back in September with a non-explorer friend.  It was pretty boring overall and the one building which looked any good, turned out to be inaccessible.  I later heard the warped door round the back needed a bit of extra tug; but was open!  Doh! 
      I kept hold of the photos until I returned in January of this year with another non explorer and went for the more intact building!  Sadly upon arrival; we found the nice part of the hospital to be completely trashed!  Double Doh!
      Still, it was a day out and good to be in somewhere. 
      The hospital is partly live, but seems to be closing at a fair rate of knots. 
      Way back in the late 19th century; people with brain injuries and single mothers were referred to as "feeble minded" and local authorities were to provide public asylums to house those deemed to be "pauper lunatics".
      Fulbourn Asylum was opened in 1858 for the feeble minded people of Cambridge to be kept in as it was considered that those people should be segregated from the rest of society.
      By the 1960s, the need for provision of dedicated care and support of the mentally handicapped people in the area was noted. The below site was chosen by The East Anglia regional Hospital Board; next to the Fulbourn mental hospital.
       The then new hospital site catered for 250 residents and the aim was that the facilities would enable each resident to maximise their greatest potential. The hospital was named Ida Darwin and has been slowly closing down over the last couple of years.
      There was also a weird poo room where someone had turned a table on  its side and had been going behind the table turned over.  Perhaps someone living rough here.  
















      As Always, thanks guys!
      More At:
    • By little_boy_explores
      Woolley Hall

      The history

      Woolley Hall is a landscape park largely unchanged since 1800. The park is associated with a Jacobean Hall (dated to around 1635 with later alterations). Features include wooded pleasure grounds, a ha-ha, kitchen garden and ponds. The main house is Grade II listed and the courtyard is Grade II listed as being of Special Architectural and Historic Interest. Michael Wentworth began rebuilding Woolley Hall in 1635. The new Woolley Hall consisted of an 'H'-shaped building of moderate size. An east wing was added to the south front around 1680. The western wing was added during the mid eighteenth century. The eastern wings which form the rest of the present building were added in the early nineteenth century. The house is constructed of hammer-dressed sandstone, with a slate roof. There are four storeys including the attic and basement. Recently Woolley Hall went up for sale (2014) with a guide price of £3m from its owners, Wakefield Council. It was purchased in 2015 by new owners Commercial Development Projects (CDP). Plans were submitted (2016) for a hotel conversion for the Grade II listed building. (CDP) had put forward a proposal to create a 88-bedroom hotel, with function facilities to cater for 300 guests, spa treatment rooms and a gastro restaurant. But (CDP), sent an email to the council (2017) to say they have withdrawn the plans, but gave no explanation. In reaction to the withdrawal, assistant chief executive for resources and governance at Wakefield Council, Michael Clements said: “Wakefield Council agreed to sell Woolley Hall to a local developer last year. “The sale was conditional upon them developing the site into a boutique hotel. “Disappointingly, this deal has now fallen through. It is thought the proceeds would be used to re-invest council capital with a spoke person stating “The proceeds from the sale will be used to support the council’s capital investment plans across the district whilst it will also provide an annual budget saving to help us deal with the funding cuts imposed on us by the Government.”

      The explore

      The hall sits in pleasant surroundings and considering its recent endeavour has a boutique hotel it looks like efforts are been made to keep the hall well maintained. so... during a very windy February morning we moved in for a closer look. It was a little difficult to know where to start with this one as there were quite a few different access routes to the hall... Not knowing if we would be met by a security team we started documenting the building from a far whilst slowly moving in. The hall is quite something and reminded us of one of those old hammer house movies... albeit without Dracula. Moving slowly to the east side of the hall we came across what looked like an old boiler house... although four boilers remained only one was operational... perhaps part of the councils money saving scheme. Making our way though we entered the main hall.. Surprisingly most of the rooms original architecture is preserved with some rather exquisite flooring and panelling. although some of the rooms were accessible most of the doors were bolted and without wrecking what looked like a very well preserved old door we decided to document what we could and move on. Although the main hall was the main attraction we decided to explore some of the stable blocks to the north of the hall... It looks like this was used by council departments including Wakefield social services among others. Largely empty with left overs from its office days with little else on offer. There was some very unusual looking housing quarters although we could not find any entry to these building. On leaving the stable blocks we were met by a very pleasant care taker who gave us a little history whilst politely telling us to f*uck off... 

      The pics 
      The main hall














      The stable block







      The boiler house


      oh well time for a game of golf...