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Ynysypandy Slate Mill - Gwynedd, North Wales, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Dragontree
N 52° 58.096 W 004° 09.674
30U E 422013 N 5869371
Quick Description: An impressive ruin of an old slate mill in rural North Wales.
Location: North Wales, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 6/29/2008 12:25:01 PM
Waymark Code: WM42VM
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member The Blue Quasar
Views: 116

Long Description:
This old mill used the water in the nearby Afon Henwy which flows from the Llyn Cwmystradllyn for power. There are some gorgeous views to be had from its prime position.

The UK Premier Attractions website describes the mill:
'Ynys y Pandy Slate Mill
Near Porthmadog, Gwynedd LL49 - Wales, UK

Ynys y Pandy is an impressive, three-storied slate mill standing beside a lane, off the A487, that leads to Llyn Cwmystradlyn Reservoir. Built in 1855 to serve the Gorseddau quarry, the ruin has arched windows and is reminiscent of a ruined abbey or cotton mill. It is unusual because most slate mills had only one floor. However, the venture was not a success and the mill closed after a few years. The huge pit for the waterwheel is the main internal feature. It is now an ancient monument.'

There is an information board inside the ruin amongst the sheep.

The Gorseddau Junction & Portmadoc Railways website has some valuable information:
'Ynys y Pandy Mill
Six miles from Portmadoc, the route reaches the site of its most distinctive, indeed unique feature - Ynys y Pandy slate mill, or more properly Ty Mawr [Great House] Ynys y Pandy (to confuse matters further, the sign on the gate calls it Pont y Pandy, after the adjacent bridge). Slate mills are, conventionally, more or less windowless single-storey buildings located within a quarry. Ynys y Pandy (the spelling Ynysypandy is more grammatically correct but less commonly used) is utterly different, and is probably the most remarkable ruin in North Wales, striking for its location as well as its design. It was built remote from Gorseddau Quarry for the simple reason that there was no adequate source of water power at the quarry, but this is not enough to explain the character of the building. It had two main floors, each linked directly to the tramway, plus an attic and a basement in one corner, contributing to the impression of height. There was an internal waterwheel, large arched windows, and a (presumably ornamented) slate roof which was said to be the finest in the district. The Company spent ten thousand pounds on the mill machinery alone; to put this into context, its maximum entire capital was £125,500, a very large figure for an undertaking of this scale in the 1850s.

In some ways it is more reminiscent of the textile industry than of slate quarrying, and it must have been very expensive to build. It may well have been intended as a model to serve as an example to others, not unlike the Manufactory (woollen mill) which formed part of William Alexander Madocks' model township of Tremadoc, and also still stands. Visually, the mill recalls a cross between a ruined abbey and a very large nonconformist chapel - indeed it is said to have been used as a meeting hall before its machinery was stripped out and the roof was removed, which is thought to have happened in 1906. The structure is now a Scheduled Ancient Monument, owned and maintained by the Snowdonia National Park.

Dr Michael Lewis has published what may well prove to be the definitive scholarly account of Ty Mawr, modifying numerous previous assertions about it, and providing a credible idea of the internal arrangements, based on an archeological survey in 1995; see the reference to the article in vol.3 of Industrial Gwynedd. Lewis ascribes the building's design to James Brunlees (later Sir James), engineer of the tramway, who had already been involved in the creation of comparable buildings for different (engineering) purposes in the Manchester area.

Unlike many of the surviving slate mills in North Wales, Ynys y Pandy was built specifically to process slate slab rather than roofing slate; the industrial production of roofing slates in mills was in its infancy when the Gorseddau line was built, and they were generally produced entirely by hand within the main quarry workings. Slab was extensively used for many purposes, such as flooring, window sills, and gravestones, and its preparation involved sawing, planing, and in some cases polishing. Slab production is perhaps more commonly associated with the type of slate rock extracted further south, for instance around Corris and Aberllefenni, and the generally very high-grade slate found in northern Snowdonia was usually split into roofing slates. It is thus possible that the decision to concentrate on slab production from the Gorseddau Quarry, whose rock was of most inferior quality, was the single apparently sensible element of the plans.

One remaining puzzle about the mill is why, albeit ruined, it was not demolished when it was stripped out. Presumably, while there was profit in the sale or scrapping of the machinery, and in the sale of roofing materials, timbers and even perhaps the windows, there would have been little financial reward for the effort of taking down the walls of such a substantial and solid structure. Or it would be pleasing to think that there may have been some appreciation of the picturesque character of the remains.'

It was thanks to geocaching that we found this watermill and we would recommend a visit!
Current Status: Ruin

Current Use: Ancient Building - Visitor Attraction

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Meirion visited Ynysypandy Slate Mill - Gwynedd, North Wales, UK 5/7/2018 Meirion visited it