AIA Practical Weekend 6th – 7th April 2019

Our 2019 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 1880s the industry employed many thousands of 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 remains in the immediate vicinity.

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.


9:45am               Tea & coffee
10:00am             Welcome by Dr Dafydd Roberts
10:15am             Visit to V2 incline (300 yds walk from museum)
11:00am             Coffee break
11:30am             History of the North Wales slate industry by Dr David Gwyn
12:30pm             Lunch
1:15pm               The slate industry of Northwest Wales as a cultural landscape by Dr David Gwyn
2:15pm               Coffee break
2:45pm               The World Heritage Site bid by Roland Evans
3:30pm               Free time to explore the museum and Padarn Country Park – Quarry Hospital, Transporter Incline, Vivian Quarry
19:30pm             Dinner at Padarn Hotel
20:30pm             The role of slavery and its management in the context of the Welsh slate industry by Dr Marian Gwyn

10:00am              Energy needs in the industry – water and gravity systems by Dr David Gwyn
11:00am              The Ynni Ogwen hydro-electric scheme by Dr Dafydd Roberts
11:15am              Coffee break
11:45am              Visit to Padarn Railway stables and workshop.

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.

Booking is via Eventbrite:

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

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.