Penrhyn Quarry Turbine House

Water pipe supplying the Turbine House from the Afon Ogwen


27 November 2011

Ogwen Bank, Bethesda

SH 62484 65553; 53.16925°N, 4.05868°W


Compressed air to power pneumatic tools at Penrhyn Quarry was formerly supplied from the turbine house close to the banks of the Afon Ogwen.

Kendal-based manufacturers Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon have been supplying small hydropower systems since 1856 and have now delivered over 6500 turbines worldwide. The Gilkes turbine installed here is dated 1929 and was fed via a pipeline taking water from further upstream on the Ogwen. Exhaust water leaving the turbine was channelled below what is now Lon Las Ogwen cycle track before being returned to the river.

The turbine powered a 1918 air compressor manufactured by Fullerton Hodgart & Barclay. This firm was established in 1838 and operated from the Vulcan Foundry in Paisley until the company went into liquidation in 1977.

Water supply pipeline

View inside the pipe close to its approach down to the Turbine House

Gilkes turbine with the air compressor behind to the right

Turbine House entrance. The water inlet to the turbine is at the bottom left.

Turbine - Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd Kendal 1929

Turbine - Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd Kendal 1929

Turbine - Gilbert Gilkes & Gordon Ltd Kendal 1929

Turbine inlet valve control

Air compressor. The flywheel on the left was driven by the output shaft from the turbine.

Compressor - Fullerton Hodgart & Barclay Ltd Engineers Paisley 1500 Cubic Feet Capacity 1918

Compressed air pipe leaving the compressor

Compressed air pipe leaving the building

Afon Ogwen at the site of the outfall from the Turbine House

Outfall below Lon Las Ogwen cycle track. Exhaust water from the turbine fed back into the Ogwen from here.

18 thoughts on “Penrhyn Quarry Turbine House

  1. These images are just so fun to go through. My mind was just so excited and like a little kid to read all those old dates and go around all the details. And in the first image, I was thinking how fun it would be to go in that tunnel and come out in your world, Graham. 🙂 Love this post!


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  3. superb images – so much so i am off this afternoon to have a look. I have found a few more old hydros across Snowdonia in various states of abandonment. let me know if you have seen any more on your travels. As you probably know Gilks have access to info on every hydro they ever built. But as you probably know the hero in Snowdonia was Richard Edwards Llanuwchlyn and his couple of hundred across Eryri. would be interested if you have found any?


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  5. Great find Graham, hidden in the bushes. I went to check it out this evening. Excellent location, and a really intriguing piece of history.
    Made in my home town of Kendal, now lost and forgotten in the jungle a few minutes walk from home.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember this turbine woking back in1964 when i was working as an apprentice fitter at the Quarry .After it had been working all day it would be shut down about 4.30 and the run off would dry up and during the annual salmon run a few fish would be high and dry in the pool next to the turbine house a regular haunt for the local poachers.

    Liked by 1 person

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