National Slate Museum

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National Slate Museum


Welsh Slate Museum,Llanberis.jpg
Entrance to the museum
Type: Industry museum
Grid reference: SH58556029
Location: 53°7’16"N, 4°6’54"W
Village: Llanberis
Industry museum
Owned by: National Museum Wales
Website: National Slate Museum

The National Slate Museum (previously known as the Welsh Slate Museum and the North Wales Quarrying Museum) is located at Gilfach Ddu in the 19th-century workshops of the now disused Dinorwic slate quarry, within the Padarn Country Park, Llanberis, Caernarfonshire.

The museum is an anchor point of the 'European Route of Industrial Heritage' (ERIH) and part of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.


The workshops which served the needs of the quarry and its locomotives, were built in 1870 on land created from the continuous tipping of spoil from the adjacent Vivian Quarry, and as a replacement for the store sheds which were previously sited there. Rail access to the works was by both 23.5" narrow gauge (the quarry gauge) and 4-foot narrow gauge (that of the Padarn Railway which carried the slate from the quarry to Port Dinorwic). Rails also entered the main yard through the main entrance.

The quarry closed in 1969 and the site was opened on 25 May 1972 as the North Wales Quarrying Museum.[1]

The museum is now connected to the nearby village of Llanberis by the Llanberis Lake Railway, which uses part of the building as its workshops.

The museum reopened after receiving a £1.6 million grant and now has displays featuring Victorian era slateworkers' cottages that once stood at Tanygrisiau, near Blaenau Ffestiniog, Merionethshire. They were taken down stone by stone and re-erected on the site. The museum includes the multi-media display, To Steal a Mountain, showing the lives and work of the men who quarried slate here.

The museum also has the largest working waterwheel in mainland Britain, which is available for viewing via several walkways. The waterwheel was constructed in 1870 by De Winton of Caernarfon and is 50 feet 5 inches in diameter, 5 feet 3 inches wide and was built around a 12-inch axle.[2] Close to the museum is the partly restored Vivian incline, a gravity balance incline where loaded slate wagons haul empty wagons back up.


The museum owns a number of locomotives from Welsh quarries

Name Builder Type Works number Date Notes Image
Una Hunslet 0-4-0 ST 873 1905 Built for the Pen-yr-Orsedd Quarry.[3] Una at Welsh Slate Museum.jpg
[3] Brush 4w BE 1917 Built for munitions work during the First World War. Later worked at Aberllefenni Slate Quarry. Now restored to working condition.
[3] W. J. Williams 4w PM Converted motorcycle, built at the Oakeley Slate Quarry to ride on the quarry tramways. Slate Museum Rail Motorcycle - panoramio.jpg
Cilgwyn[3] Ruston and Hornsby 4w DM ex-Cilgwyn quarry locomotive

Outside links

("Wikimedia Commons" has material
about National Slate Museum)


  1. "National Slate Museum gets set to celebrate its 40th birthday!". National Slate Museum. May 9, 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2016. 
  2. Plaque on the wall of the museum
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Template:Irs-el

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales

National Museum CardiffSt Fagans National Museum of HistoryBig Pit National Coal MuseumNational Wool MuseumNational Roman Legion MuseumNational Slate MuseumNational Waterfront Museum