Blaenau Ffestiniog

Sue Wells

Black and white photograph

  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Wales Office, Gwydyr House, Whitehall

    Looking directly at us, a sheep perches at the foot of a ruined slate building, one of many abandoned structures from the remains of a once-thriving slate mine in the town of Blaenau Ffestiniog, north-west Wales. To the left of the scene is the remains of what appears to be a chimney stack, another reminder of the area’s industrial past.

    From the late 18th century until the end of the 19th century, the slate industry was the dominant activity in north-west Wales, with quarrying in some areas, and solely mining in Blaenau Ffestiniog. A thriving industry, slate was used widely as roofing tiles and other uses in the construction trade, as well as for funerary headstones. By the beginning of the 20th century the industry began to decline, and this rapidly increased at the start of the First World War when many men enlisted.

    This is one of two photographs by Sue Wells in the Government Art Collection that were purchased directly from the artist in April 1977.

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  • Details
    Sue Wells
    Blaenau Ffestiniog
    Black and white photograph
    Purchased from the photographer, April 1977
    GAC number