Essai sur l’état actuel de l’industrie ardoisière en France et en Angleterre

Name of traveller

L. Smyers

Reason for travel

  • study of industry

Date of travel

undated, ca. 1850s

Quand on a vu Penrhyn, on se demande si on n’a pas tout vu, et s’il est utile d’aller ailleurs. (Smyers 28)


  • architecture: positive commentary on workers' homes; comparison with Swiss villages
  • customs: discussion of temperance
  • diet: on invitation shares a meal of bread, butter, cheese and milk with an overseer and his family
  • industry:
    • Penrhyn Quarry unrivalled in the world; description of size, products, techniques and transport
    • workers hardly visible to visitors as they are dwarved by the spectacle
    • engages in conversation with people to gather tips for quarrying in France; regrets to say that Penrhyn also exports slate to France
    • description of child labour; children full of joy
    • acknowledges that the English [sic] are better at industrial production than the French
    • long discussion regarding the use of explosives in slate mining
    • admitts that his words frequently fail him to describe the quarries properly
    • refers to a village, Rhiwbryfdir, that has by this point been burried under a slate tip
  • terrain: Blaenau Ffestiniog described as hellish
  • transport:
    • modes of transport: train
    • counts 53 ships with 3 masts carrying Penrhyn slate at Bangor port
    • description of trains
    • travels on a gravity train to Porthmadog
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Smyers, L. Essai sur l'état actuel de l'industrie ardoisière en France et en Angleterre, suivi de quelques observations pratiques sur la formation du schiste ardoisier. Paris: Poulet-Malassis et de Broise, 1858. Print.