The slate industry in Wales began during the Roman period when slate
was used to roof the fort at Segontium, modern Caernarfon. The slate
industry grew slowly until the early 18th century, from when it
expanded rapidly and reached its peak output in the late 19th century,
at which time the most important slate producing areas were in
north-west Wales. These included the Penrhyn Quarry near Bethesda, the
Dinorwig Quarry near Llanberis, the Nantlle Valley quarries and
Blaenau Ffestiniog, where the slate was mined rather than quarried.
Penrhyn and Dinorwig were the two largest slate quarries in the world,
and the Oakeley mine at Blaenau Ffestiniog was the largest slate mine
in the world. The Great Depression and the Second World War led to the
closure of many smaller quarries, and competition from other roofing
materials, particularly tiles, resulted in the closure of most of the
larger quarries in the 1960s and 1970s. Slate production continues on
a much reduced scale.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
French playwright, journalist and outspoken feminist Olympe de Gouges
was guillotined for her revolutionary ideas.
The Times of India, the world's largest circulated English language
daily broadsheet newspaper, was founded.
A new constitution drafted by Johan Rudolf Thorbecke was proclaimed,
severely limiting the powers of the monarchy of the Netherlands.
The Sputnik 2 spacecraft was launched, carrying Laika the Russian
space dog as the first living being to orbit the Earth.
The UNIX Programmer's Manual was first published.
Wikiquote of the day:
Art is a revolt against fate. -- André Malraux