The Slate Industry of North and Mid Wales

Dinorwic Quarry Hospital

The hospital was built in 1860 and was largely maintained by the men's own contributions to a Sick Club.  The club provided free medical care, a weekly payment during absence from work through sickness or injury, a small payment on retirement and burial expenses.  It was one of the first buildings in the area to have hot and cold running water and electricity.  General surgery continued here until the 1940's when the hospital was downgraded to a first aid centre.  It closed in 1962 and was later restored by Gwynedd County Council, reopening as a visitor centre in 1979.  Apart from the quarry doctor, the staff lived on the premises.  The hospital had one of the earliest x-ray machines in North Wales.  In the Post Mortem room, which was situated in the basement, the table was made from a polished slate slab, complete with channels and drainage holes.  The Hospital is situated a few hundred yards from the Welsh Slate Museum overlooking Llyn Padarn and admission is free.

Contact Padarn Country Park for details of opening times:

Part of the dispensing area with Victorian medical names much in evidence.

A stretcher attached to a specially made 2 foot gauge tramway chassis.  In many parts of the quarry the quickest access to a casualty would have been along the tramways.

Various old style surgical implements

The examination table was made by the joiner in the quarry workshops, as was the operating table.

The Mortuary building is a few yards away from the main building.

Some interesting reading on the health and working conditions in Dinorwic's heyday:

A few practical suggestions about the health of the quarrymen

Some laws for the Government of the Hospital

Details of a typical quarry accident

Next page: The slate industry today

Return to: Aspects of the Industry