Practical Days

Normally held around April each year, these are informal meetings looking at various topics relevant to those active in industrial archaeology. In the past these events were known as ‘Affiliated Societies Weekends’ and ‘Ironbridge Weekends’.

The AIA Practical Weekend 2020 – North Wales Slate

10:00 Saturday 25th to 13:00 Sunday 26th April 2020

Our 2020 Practical Weekend is located at the National Slate Museum in Llanberis. 

The North Wales slate industry had an enormous impact on the landscape of the region and at its peak in the 1890s the industry employed sixteen thousand men.  Today there are spectacular remains to be seen, not just of the quarries themselves but of the associated workshops, sawmills, railways and docks.  An application is being made to UNESCO to have the industry’s remains inscribed as a World Heritage Site. 

During the weekend expert speakers will describe the growth of the industry, its impact on the communities which provided the workforce and the often ingenious means by which power was provided in the quarries.  We will hear about the bid to have the remains of the industry inscribed as a World Heritage Site and during the weekend there will be time to see both the museum and some of the quarry remains in the immediate vicinity.

The museum

The museum complex was originally the Gilfach Ddu workshop, built in 1869-70 to serve the Dinorwic quarry.  A remarkably strident assertion of patrician power, it was built of high quality materials on a grand scale.   A 50 foot diameter waterwheel, the largest surviving example in mainland Britain, provided the power for an iron foundry and extensive machine shops.

Friday afternoon

Participants who have a long way to travel will probably need to stay overnight beforehand, in order to be ready for a 10am start on Saturday. If there is sufficient interest, we could arrange to visit some other local sites on Friday afternoon. Please contact John Jones: if you are interested in Friday afternoon visits.

The cost

The cost of the weekend is £65, to include attendance, together with tea, coffee, lunch and dinner on Saturday.  Members of the AIA receive a £10 discount and any non-member who pays £65 can have the discount refunded to them by cheque if they join the Association during the weekend or within seven days afterwards.

Click here to book via Eventbrite


There is a wide variety of accommodation available in Llanberis and the surrounding area.  See

How to get there

Llanberis is 10 miles South of Bangor, via the A4244 and A4086.  The museum is located at the South Eastern end of Lake Padarn, Postcode LL55 4TY.  Car parking (chargeable) is adjacent to the museum.
For any other queries please contact John Jones:

Some past meetings were:

2018 – Mining Landscapes in Derbyshire

The weekend included a visit to the splendid Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath and its adjacent Temple Mine; the surface remains of Magpie Mine, run by the Peak District Mines Historical Society; and an exploration of other mining landscapes in the area, with an underground visit to one of the local caverns which were exploited for minerals including the famous Blue John.

2017 – The Iron industry

This one-day workshop provided introductory practical training and a broad understanding of the processes used and the buildings utilised in the historic iron industry around Ironbridge

2016 – Speaking up for Industrial Archaeology – the challenges and practicalities of speaking up for industrial archaeology at a local scale

The workshop explored why it is more important now than ever that local groups speak up for industrial archaeology, and what groups and societies can practically do to support and protect industrial archaeology in their local area.

There were practical sessions, and a feedback and discussion session which looked at issues such as the challenges of speaking up for industrial archaeology and what support currently exists for groups who want to help to protect and raise awareness of industrial archaeology in their local area.

Following from the workshop, Rob Lennox from the Council for British Archaeology  (CBA) has produced a resources sheet of useful advocacy resources/web links for community groups who want to speak up for industrial heritage in their local areas.

Download the resource sheet ( pdf 366kb )

2014 – Lime in Historic Landscapes and Buildings

2007 – Characteristics and Forms of Road Transport

2006 – The Brewing Industry

2005 – Railway Structures

2000 – What should we do with our records?