Slate Stories

Sian Pari Huws explores the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20050918

Sian Pari Huws explores the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

1/4. Quarrymen

Sian visits the old quarrying communities of Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bethesda. Just as the South Wales Valleys were built on coal, these communities were built on slate. Sian meets the quarrymen, now retired, who were working up to the 1960s in conditions little different from those their Victorian forebears had to endure. Light was provided by a candle stuck in a piece of clay and silicosis from slate dust was a constant hazard of the job. However, there were positive aspects to life in the quarries: we discover the culture of the caban, the quarrymen's canteen, where discussion and debate were raised to an art form.

Then News.

20050925

Sian Pari Huws presents a series exploring the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

2/4. Artists

Above the quarrying communities of North Wales, slate waste spills across the mountainsides in a torrent of grey. But artists have found inspiration both in this landscape and in the communities which have shaped it, revealing subtle varieties of colour and sculpting the rock into new forms. Sian also discovers the musical possibilities of slate.

Then News.

20051002

Sian Pari Huws explores the significance of slate to people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

3/4. A Head for Heights

Colin Lee has been a slate roofer in North Wales for nearly 40 years. He still takes great pride in his work and maintains that attention to detail and a good head for heights are essential requirements for the job. Those skills are also essential for the climbers who have pioneered challenging new routes in the disused slate quarries nearby, christening them with extraordinary names like Mentil Lentils, Comes the Dervish and Ring of Bright Scum.

Then News.

20051009

Sian Pari Huws explores the significance of slate to people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

4/4. A Living Industry

In the face of increasing competition from other countries and the uncertainties of architectural fashion, is the Welsh slate industry in danger of becoming little more than a museum piece?

Sian meets businessmen, quarrymen and an artist who see slate as a design icon with a bright future.

Followed by News.

20051213

Sian Pari Huws presents a series exploring the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

1/5. Quarrymen

Above the quarrying communities of North Wales, slate waste spills across the mountainsides in a torrent of grey. But artists have found inspiration both in this landscape and in the communities which have shaped it, revealing subtle varieties of colour and sculpting the rock into new forms. Sian also discovers the musical possibilities of slate.

Then News.

20051214

Sian Pari Huws presents a series exploring the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

2/5. Artists

Until the 1960s working conditions in the slate industry were little changed from those of Victorian times. In the quarries, Light came from a candle stuck in a piece of clay and slate dust was a slow, unsuspected killer. Sian meets the few surviving members of a generation of quarrymen who risked their lives and health in the slate mines of North Wales.

Then News.

20051215

Sian Pari Huws presents a series exploring the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

3/5. A Head for Heights

Colin Lee has been a slate roofer in North Wales for nearly 40 years. He still takes great pride in his work and maintains that attention to detail and a good head for heights are essential requirements for the job. Those skills are also essential for the climbers who have pioneered challenging new routes in the disused slate quarries nearby, christening them with extraordinary names like Comes the Dervish and Ring of Bright Scum.

Then News.

20051216

Sian Pari Huws presents a series exploring the significance of slate with people whose lives, in many different ways, are bound up with this ancient rock.

4/5. A Living Industry

In the face of increasing competition from other countries and the uncertainties of architectural fashion, is the Welsh slate industry in danger of becoming little more than a museum piece? Sian meets businessmen, quarrymen and an artist who see slate as a design icon with a bright future.

Then News.

0101Quarrymen2005091820051213

Sian visits the old quarrying communities of Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bethesda.

Just as the South Wales Valleys were built on coal, these communities were built on slate.

Sian meets the quarrymen, now retired, who were working up to the 1960s in conditions little different from those their Victorian forebears had to endure.

Light was provided by a candle stuck in a piece of clay and silicosis from slate dust was a constant hazard of the job.

However, there were positive aspects to life in the quarries: we discover the culture of the caban, the quarrymen's canteen, where discussion and debate were raised to an art form.

0101Quarrymen2005091820051213

Sian visits the old quarrying communities of Blaenau Ffestiniog and Bethesda.

Just as the South Wales Valleys were built on coal, these communities were built on slate.

Sian meets the quarrymen, now retired, who were working up to the 1960s in conditions little different from those their Victorian forebears had to endure.

Light was provided by a candle stuck in a piece of clay and silicosis from slate dust was a constant hazard of the job.

However, there were positive aspects to life in the quarries: we discover the culture of the caban, the quarrymen's canteen, where discussion and debate were raised to an art form.

0102Artists2005092520051214

Above the quarrying communities of North Wales, slate waste spills across the mountainsides in a torrent of grey.

But artists have found inspiration both in this landscape and in the communities which have shaped it, revealing subtle varieties of colour and sculpting the rock into new forms.

Sian also discovers the musical possibilities of slate.

0102Artists2005092520051214

Above the quarrying communities of North Wales, slate waste spills across the mountainsides in a torrent of grey.

But artists have found inspiration both in this landscape and in the communities which have shaped it, revealing subtle varieties of colour and sculpting the rock into new forms.

Sian also discovers the musical possibilities of slate.

0103A Head For Heights2005100220051215

Colin Lee has been a slate roofer in North Wales for nearly 40 years.

He still takes great pride in his work and maintains that attention to detail and a good head for heights are essential requirements for the job.

Those skills are also essential for the climbers who have pioneered challenging new routes in the disused slate quarries nearby, christening them with extraordinary names like Mentil Lentils, Comes the Dervish and Ring of Bright Scum.

0103A Head For Heights2005100220051215

Colin Lee has been a slate roofer in North Wales for nearly 40 years.

He still takes great pride in his work and maintains that attention to detail and a good head for heights are essential requirements for the job.

Those skills are also essential for the climbers who have pioneered challenging new routes in the disused slate quarries nearby, christening them with extraordinary names like Mentil Lentils, Comes the Dervish and Ring of Bright Scum.

0104 LASTA Living Industry2005100920051216

In the face of increasing competition from other countries and the uncertainties of architectural fashion, is the Welsh slate industry in danger of becoming little more than a museum piece?

Sian meets businessmen, quarrymen and an artist who see slate as a design icon with a bright future.

0104 LASTA Living Industry2005100920051216

In the face of increasing competition from other countries and the uncertainties of architectural fashion, is the Welsh slate industry in danger of becoming little more than a museum piece?

Sian meets businessmen, quarrymen and an artist who see slate as a design icon with a bright future.