Dyffryn Nantlle on film – I

Lancashire Boiler

Lancashire Boiler

Here’s installment 1 of a no doubt lengthy series exploring the Industrial workings of Dyffryn Nantlle.

My love for the valleystarted some 10 years ago, and I visit pretty frequently. There is always something changing in the valley.

This installment focusses on the periphery of the Dorothea quarry, now best know as a death sentence for divers.

The most striking remains on site are those of the Cornish pumping engine. It is CADW protected, but that doesn’t seem to be worth a lot to anyone.

Engine House

It was erected in 1903, and I believe is the only Beam engine in britain still in situ outside of Cornwall, and is an incredibly rare thing to exist at all in the slate industry.

Annexed to it is the boiler house, with 2 Lancashire boilers in situ. The roof is long gone, which is a shame as the engine house received a new roof fairly recently.

The chimney stack is long gone, but the base remains as does the flue, as well as a the coal hopper.One day I will hopefully get another chance tosee the sleeping Giant within.


Steam Valves

Commercial Hotel

A short walk around the south wester side of the Dorothea pit takes you to the site ofthe former Commercial hotel, part of the original Talysarn village which was swallowed up by the quarries.The hotel became offices for Dorothea quarry. The interior is now wrecked and grafiti covered. I liked the irony, lost as an image, asduring my visit there was no silence to be had! Pen yr Orsedd quarry was busy working, Ty Mawr quarry was very active as a rubbish dump and to top it all, someone was at it with a chain saw at Talysarn hall a short distance further along the old road!


Talysarn hall is a fantastic spot. I love visiting these old mansions, they are so eerie and rather sad. Somewhere in the garden is a fountain, although I have yet to see it. It is on the edge of the qaurry pit so perhaps it has been consumed by collapse or the rhodeodendrons have claimed it for their own, it remains a reason to return.

Stable block at Talysarn hall

All photographs shot on Ilford XP2 Super, using an Olympus OM2 Spot/Program with Tokina 25-50mm lens.







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