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Reload this Page Pen-Yr-Orsedd Slate Quarry and Blondins
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Pen-Yr-Orsedd Slate Quarry and Blondins
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Default Pen-Yr-Orsedd Slate Quarry and Blondins - 14-08-2010, 15:08

The first known use of Blondins in the quarry industry was at Penrhyn Quarry where they were installed by 1913. Penrhyn quarry was based around a single large pit over 400 feet deep, worked as a series of terraces. A variety of means were used to transport slate from the terraces to the mills where the rock was processed. The quarry already had an extensive internal narrow gauge railway system in place and many terraces were connected via inclines. Blondins were developed to connect more remote terraces directly to the mills - they were distinguished by the fact that rock was transported on the ropeways in railway wagons slung from cradles. the ropeways ran horizontally or nearly horizontally until the cradle hit a stop, at which point the wagons were automatically lowered to ground level where they were moved by rail to the point of loading or unloading. Other nearby quarries also adopted Blondins, notably those in the Nantlle Valley, there are several examples at Dinorwic. (From Wikipedia).

They were closed down in 1974, after a disasterous safety inspection: Perhaps continuing to blast slate whilst the inspector was above the quarry on a blondin horse was not such a good idea.

At a different site, they were used to construct Conisboro Viaduct (South Yorkshire), as here:

Walking down from above, not relevant, but different, is this base for a water tank, obviously rivetted, and set into cement.

First views:

The example laid on the ground makes for easy photography

The horse

Winding drum



A brine bath resistor, to control voltage and speed

The control was by lowering the top electrodes up and down into a brine bath


Air Compressor

Very welded up after frost damage

Air Tank

stripped for copper

Cable securing point

Through the window

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Default 14-08-2010, 20:43

This looks like a great site, I'd love to have a look at those blondins. I need to spend a month in North Wales, mooching round railways and quarries and all the other fun stuff!
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Default 16-08-2010, 09:41

They're really cool. For some reason they remind me of an abandoned seaside cable car ride (very Scooby Doo) that I "urbexed" as a child.

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Default 16-08-2010, 10:35

Love the look of this place, great report Phil.
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Default 16-08-2010, 11:19

The guy in the sky seriously deserved his pay! Great report!


Its deep but now very light down there... ٩(͡๏̯͡๏)۶
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Default 17-08-2010, 21:56

I was sure that we had reported this here before but can't see it.

Here's a few of mine mainly from from the same day.

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Default 18-08-2010, 12:12

What a lovely place and the cable way looks well tidy!
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Default 19-08-2010, 11:35

Really interesting report ... the firm who made the Blondins were Hendersons of Aberdeen (still in business today in Arbroath). Afaik, the first Blondin was conceived by John Fyfe, a granite quarry owner in Aberdeenshire, in the late 1800's - they were used in several pit-type quarries around Aberdeen, then quickly taken up by Welsh slate quarries and also dam builders elsewhere too. Pen yr Orsedd may be the only Henderson Blondin still standing - I know that all of them around Aberdeen have been dismantled.
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