Ornamental slate fan

Contributed by National Slate Museum Llanberis

Ornamental slate fan © National Museum of Wales

The slate quarrymen prided themselves in their ability to handle slate and produced many beautiful and useful items.At the end of the 18th century, demand for slate exploded and changed the look and life of North West Wales forever.
Welsh slate was in demand not only in Britain but North America and mainland Europe as industrialisation and populations across the world gathered pace. Many new quarries opened or expanded to cater for demand that increased rapidly. By the 1870s, slate was one of Wales' major industries and Blaenau Ffestiniog had become an industrial town. The Dinorwig and Penrhyn quarries were the two largest slate quarries in the world, each employing over 3000 people. The slate quarrymen prided themselves in their ability to handle slate and during their leisure hours they produced many beautiful and useful items. Many fireplaces in the quarrying districts feature ornate slate carvings, and ornaments such as this fan often took pride of place in the quarryman's home.

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