Galedffrwd Mill

Galedffrwd Mill at the confluence of the rivers Galedffrwd and Ogwen

Date

5 November 2011
Location

Trem Ffrancon, Bethesda

SH 61717 66700; 53.17937°N, 4.07064°W

Information

The mill was powered by water from the Afon Galedffrwd and is located close the point where the river flows into the Afon Ogwen. It stood derelict for many years until the present owners purchased it in 2007 and spent the following two years converting it into their home and five-star Bed and Breakfast establishment.

In his 1978 Industrial Archæology of Snowdonia and Anglesey, Keith Jaggers give the following historical account:

A further group of buildings to the east of the ‘B’ road, now occupied by a car body repairer was formerly the Ogwen Slate Works. Below, and beside the river bank at the junction of the Afon Caledffrwd and Afon Ogwen is a substantial slab-walled building housing the remains of another 40 ft diameter waterwheel. This is accessible by footpath from the nearby footbridge (616667) and was built as late as circa 1902 in connection with an experiment in crushing slate waste to make breeze blocks, but disused after some five years.

And the current proprietors’ web site has the following to say:

The mill was constructed in 1938 and use to contain a 35′ dia waterwheel to provide power for an electric railway up to Penhryn slate quarry, in the 1960’s the railway was abandoned in favour of road transport for the slate. The mill became redundant and fell into disrepair over a period of 40 years. No one knows what happened to the wheel (probably scrapped) only the axle was in place when we arrived.

The Industrial Archæology of Snowdonia and Anglesey; Galedffrwd Mill

The derelict mill in 1992 and the same building today (2011)

Remains of the water wheel in 1992

Afon Galedffrwd joining the Afon Ogwen

Galedffrwd Mill

16 thoughts on “Galedffrwd Mill

  1. Que buena esta historia del molino y los dos ríos: caledffrwd Mill y gwen Afon. Muchas gracias por tan hermosa historia e imágenes. cariños!!!!!!

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  2. Great! I love the then and now shot, very skilfully done. Interesting that the mill wheel was actually inside the building…I wonder if that is unusual…possibly there was generating equipment housed as well? I had a look at their web site, very interesting. The sign is very finely done, in a nice font, too.

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  3. I just had fun trying to figure out how to pronounce those Welsh names (and no, just genetics isn’t helping any 🙂 ). Love that they’ve brought this building back to the land of the living. Nicely done. And I like these photos. The first one, especially, as the textures are just wonderful to my eye. The water so smooth, and then the moss; the roughness of the building and those bare branches. Really nice. Thanks for sharing the photos and the history.

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  4. Pingback: Afon Galedffrwd « GeoTopoi

  5. Nice photo’s & many many thanks for your positive reactions to my restoration work. We have been unable to get any type of confirmation as to when it was built or what its main purpose was, 1938 is the first time the mills mentioned on a set of deeds but it could be older.

    Locals have given other versions as to its story.

    1/ That the mill wasn’t finished at the outbreak of WW2 when construction work was stopped. After the war technology had advanced to the point where it was decided to install a turbine adjacent to the mill, this version is from a local who as an apprentice in the 50’s at the adjacent mill complex had the job each morning to open the turbine valves.

    2/ Another local say’s the mill was never used as when the water was turned on the water wheel was seriously out of balance and vibrated the building dangerously.

    Interestingly, years ago the local authority applied to have the mill listed, yet Cadw turned the application down as the mill was never used for its intended purpose.

    An identical water wheel is open to the public at llanberis slate museum and I presume they are installed internally to keep them working in the freezing conditions we can get in Snowdonia.

    One last thing…..rumour has it that a photo exists on the internet of the mill under construction with the wheel in place ready for the upper walls to be built around it, if anyone comes across the thing I would be very grateful of an e-mail…….I’ve looked for hrs.

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  6. Graham,
    I am hopelessly behind on viewing your blog & may have to resort to the Like button rather than commenting on all I like. The before and after shots here are great and I love the water.

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  7. Hi Graham.
    As somebody who was born and bred just up the road by St Anns Church, the photographs of the mill certaily caught my attention, back then, I walked to school every morning on the other side of the Ogwen. The other thing that drew my attention was the name of the tributary to the Ogwen – Afon Galedffrwd. I cannot remember it ever being called by that name. It was always Afon Rocar to us, the name being derived from ‘Ochre’. It was said that an Ochre Mine was at one time located further up the river near Mynydd Llandegai, and a house nearby is still called ‘Rocar’ and has been for as long as I can remember.
    In the mid to late fifties I used to visit the mill, to play. The wheel was complete then and the roof still in good repair, but no windows. My friends and I used to stand on the outer end of a wheel spoke and as the wheel was well balanced our weight was enough to make it turn, at the bottom we would run to the other side and jump on another spoke to come up to the mid level again. this would be repeated several times until we got the wheel to turn fairly fast. The more adveturous of us used to climb up the stationary wheel to the header tank just beneath the roof.
    The wheel was vandalised sometime around 1960/61, boulders had been thrown down inside the wheel and holed the wooden planking that lined it, the wheel collapsed trapping a local youth in 1963(?) breaking his leg, The site was then cleared and the photograph above shows how it was after.
    The other thing I found interesting was the information about its use, I cannot remember anybody say why it was there, and my father was a slate quarryman all his life and my brother worked for a few years at the nearby maintenance workshops to the quarry, Felin Fawr.(Big Mill).
    I hope my recollections can add a bit more to its history.

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  8. stunning images again – looks like fairly small system. The low head system from the Ogwen must be a few hundred kw at least. (we i mean the NT have something with a smaller head in Aberdulais and its 230kw – therefore i’m guessing this must be double that) will be interesting to see what Gilks get back with.
    I had heard that a community group had applied for some feasibility funding but the hydro would be too small. I know a few members of the group from Mynydd Llandegai. keep up the good work

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  9. Hi, can anyone shed light on how the mill was originally accessed, for instance getting all the heavy stone/slate to site, was there an access road especially built and where did it start/end?

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  10. A large diameter cast iron pipe also ran down the side of the river (Galedffrwd) from the Quarry Mill, so it’s path may have been used for access and getting materials down there, the adjacent field could also have been used to access from Francon View, although the current road is very much a recent addition and part of the transformation. Answering an earlier question. the waterwheel was vandalised in the early sixties by people after the timber in the 9/10″ spokes and it eventually collapsed on one individual breaking his leg. the remains were then subsequently cleared out, leaving only the axle.

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