Now and then VIII: Beddgelert

Beddgelert - Now and Then

Beddgelert – Now and Then

Date

24 January 2015
Location

Beddgelert

SH 59096 48110; 53.01169°N, 4.10168°W

Information

The triple-arched Pont Beddgelert road bridge spans the Afon Colwyn close to its confluence with the Afon Glaslyn in the centre of Beddgelert village. The Grade II listed structure has been repaired a number of times throughout its history, the earliest recorded instance being in the early 17th century.

The first half of the 19th century saw an increase in the numbers of tourists visiting Snowdonia and around 1830, hoping to capitalise on this trend, the Sygun estate started developing property in Beddgelert – a row of buildings was constructed overlooking the Afon Colwyn close to the bridge.

The principal buildings, which received Grade II listed status in 1952 and 1961, respectively, were the Prince Llewelyn Hotel and Waterloo House. The latter is now Beddgelert Bistro and Antiques and was from the late 19th century the village Post Office. The 11-bedroom Prince Llewelyn Hotel was the site in 1949 of an occurrence the like of which is only known to have occurred in Wales on one other occasion. In the early hours of 21 September 1949 a bright light was observed traversing the sky in North Wales. A series of bangs was heard in the hotel and in the morning a hole was discovered in the ceiling of one of the upstairs lounges with a stone the size of a cricket ball lying on the floor. It was only identified as a meteorite that evening by an old miner in the hotel bar. The meteorite was later sold to the British Museum and was subsequently divided into samples which were sent to a number of different institutions.

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Royal Observer Corps (ROC) Monitoring Post, Beddgelert

Air vent

Air vent

Date

14 June 2014
Location

Beddgelert

SH 58273 48683; 53.01661°N, 4.11418°W

Information

The Royal Observer Corps monitoring post at Beddgelert was in operation from 1963 to 1991. This was one of the posts in the North Wales cluster of the ROC’s Western Sector. The network of underground monitoring stations across the UK set up during the Cold War was manned by volunteers and was intended to provide information in the event of a nuclear attack.

Further Reading

Royal Observer Corps;
Royal Observer Corps – Observer Post;
Other posts in this series

 

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St Mary’s Church, Beddgelert

St Mary's Church, Beddgelert

St Mary’s Church, Beddgelert

Date

11 January 2014
Location

Beddgelert

SH 59071 48038; 53.01103°N, 4.10200°W

Information

The Anglican St Mary’s Church in Beddgelert stands on one of Wales’ oldest Christian sites. There was a monastic community there from the 6th century and an Augustinian priory was founded in the 13th century. The priory became a parish church in the 16th century after Henry VIII’s Dissolution of the Monasteries. The church was rebuilt in the 15th century and further repairs and alterations were carried out in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Further Reading

St Mary’s Church, Beddgelert (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

 

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Llwyndu or Crib Ddu Copper Mine

Llwyndu Copper Mine

Llwyndu Copper Mine – view from the mine manager’s house or office. The entrance to the stopes of the old workings can be seen above the spoil heap, top centre. The dressing floor, middle right, was where the ore was cobbed by a team of twenty girls.

Date

9 March 2013
Location

Grib Ddu, Mynydd Sygyn, Beddgelert

SH 60567 48322; 53.01397°N, 4.07986°W

Information

Llwyndu or Crib Ddu Copper Mine is located at the top of the hill above Sygun Copper Mine and was worked for a time as part of the Sygun enterprise. In fact, the company owning Sygun mine changed its name to the Llwyndu Mine Company in 1839. Llwyndu Mine was, however, only in operation for around nine years and the site was abandoned by 1844.

Llwyndu Copper Mine Processing Area (Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales)

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Sygun Copper Mine

Outbye, adit on an upper level

Outbye, adit on an upper level above the show-mine section of the complex

Date

9 March 2013
Location

Mynydd Sygyn, Beddgelert

SH 60528 48519; 53.01573°N, 4.08052°W

Information

It is thought that mining for copper at Sygun in the Gwynant valley close to Beddgelert could have originated in Roman times. Recorded activity at Sygun Copper Mine, however, dates back to the 18th century. During the 19th century, the concern suffered various financial difficulties and changed ownership a number of times before finally closing in 1903. Part of the complex, from the Deep Adit up to the Victoria Level, was renovated as a show mine and opened to the public as a tourist attraction in 1986.

Incidentally, at the end of the 19th century Sygun was one of the first mines in the world to make use of a revolutionary new method for separating minerals. An oil-based flotation process had been patented in 1869 by William Haynes, but it was the Elmore brothers who were the first to commercially develop an industrial-scale process. At the time, Stanley Elmore owned Sygun mine and his brother Frank patented their process in 1898. The basic principle of the process exploits the differences in hydrophobicity between the valuable metal sulphide and the gangue, or unwanted rock present in the ore. When a slurry of finely crushed ore, water and oil is agitated, the sulphides, having a greater affinity for oil than water, tend to accumulate in the former leaving the gangue in the latter. The sulphide-rich oil layer can then be separated off from which the concentrated ore is recovered.

Sygun Copper Mine (Royal Commission on the ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales);
Sygun Copper Mine (Wales Underground);
Sygun Copper Mine (official site)

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Cwm Bychan/Nantmor Copper Mine (1)

Cable sheave at the upper terminus of the aerial ropeway (B)

Date

14 April 2012
Location

Cwm Bychan, Beddgelert

(A) SH 59773 46280; 52.99542°N, 4.09080°W
(B) SH 60382 47511; 53.00664°N, 4.08225°W

Information

Records of workings at the mine in Cwm Bychan, close to Beddgelert, date back to 1720, with activity peaking towards the end of the 18th century. In the 1870s the mine was run by the Cwm Buchan Silver Lead Mining Company. A brief, but unsuccessful, attempt was made to re-work the mine in the 1920s. This period of activity lasted for four years, but with virtually no ore being extracted during that time.

A number of surface structures from the 1920s remain at the site, including the ruins of a 1.4 km long aerial ropeway. This was constructed to convey ore from the workings at the top of the cwm down to a mill area at the bottom, close the Welsh Highland Railway.

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Welsh Highland Railway, Beddgelert

Beddgelert station, Welsh Highland Railway

Date

11 September 2011
Location

Beddgelert

SH 58704 48092; 53.01142°N, 4.10749°W

Information

The station at Beddgelert is one of 13 on the 25-mile-long Welsh Highland Railway (WHR), a restored narrow-gauge line running from Caernarfon to Porthmadog. The station originally operated from 1922 until its closure in 1936. Rebuilding commenced at the end of 2006 and it was officially opened in 2009.

The original WHR was in use from 1922 to 1937, but was never a commercial success. The slate industry was in decline at that time and so provided little income from freight; and the passenger trains were uncompetitive compared to the local bus services.

Although preservation work on the line dates back to the early 1960s, progress was greatly hindered for many years by disputes and legal wrangling between the interested parties. The ultimate outcome was that the Festiniog Railway Company — which already owned the Ffestiniog Railway (a narrow-gauge line from Porthmadog to Blaenau Ffestiniog) — acquired the track bed and assumed responsibility for the restoration of the line in 1990. The rival WHR Ltd, which had also been vying for the track bed, now owns and operates the Welsh Highland Heritage Railway, a ¾-mile section of track from Porthmadog to the WHR junction at Pen-y-Mount.

The WHR has been opened in stages between 1997 and 2011 as separate sections of the line were restored.

WHR History (Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railways);
Beddgelert railway station (Wikipedia);
Welsh Highland Railway (Wikipedia)

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Trial Asbestos Mine, Moel yr Ogof

Looking out across Beddgelert Forest towards Snowdon from just above the trial

Date

26 March 2011
Location

Moel yr Ogof, Beddgelert

SH 55955 47810; 53.00815°N, 4.14831°W

Information

The trial asbestos mine is located close to Owain Glyndwr’s Cave on Moel yr Ogof on the south western edge of Beddgelert Forest. The trial extends back some seven or eight metres, following a seam of white asbestos. Water percolates through the working and so the vein is very damp, rendering the mineral somewhat soft and gungy.

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Moel Hebog – Avro Anson Mk I, EG472, 9 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit, 13 Jun 1944

Moel Hebog - Anson, EG472 - looking towards Moel Siabod

Site visited 11 September 2010 Location Moel Hebog, Beddgelert
SH 56892 46951
53.00068°N, 4.13398°W
Aircraft
Manufacturer Avro Registration EG472
Model Anson Mk I Unit 9 (Observer) Advanced Flying Unit
Crash date 13 June 1944
Further Information
Peak Wreck Hunters; Anson (Wikipedia)

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