This film is part of Free

Y Chwarelwr

Slate is the lifeblood of Blaenau Ffestiniog, but its dust can be deadly, with a painful legacy for family and society

Drama-documentary 1935 34 mins


From the collection of:

Logo for National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales


The first Welsh language ‘talkie’ (sound on separate discs), this drama portrays aspects of the quarryman's life in Blaenau Ffestiniog - work, home, chapel, courtship - and indicates the importance of education to the younger generation. The story highlights the hardships and tough choices that were part and parcel of life in such a society, alongside its cultural vibrancy and community spirit.

Llechwedd Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog, was the location of this landmark film by Ifan ab Owen Edwards (scripted by John Ellis Williams, director of Blaenau’s amateur drama group whose members made up the cast). The film toured north Wales to great acclaim. Seen here is the original film – its fourth reel of images missing (covering life after the father's death), although the sound and script are held by NSSAW. Following the Archive's restoration of the incomplete original, TV company Cwmni Da recreated the last reel and made a new soundtrack for the whole film, which is also available to view. *To enable English subtitles for this film, once playing select CC in the video playback bar (at the bottom of the screen) and select Closed Captions = On.*