Former quarry cottages, Nant Gwrtheyrn

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Former quarry cottages, Nant Gwrtheyrn

Quarrying of the granite-like stone at Nant Gwrtheyrn began in earnest in 1861. Three quarries opened in that decade, primarily supplying setts for paving the streets of rapidly growing cities such as Liverpool and Manchester. These two rows of cottages were erected in 1878 as accommodation for quarrymen. The one facing the sea was called Trem y Môr (sea view), the south-facing row was Trem y Mynydd (mountain view). By 1886 they were the centre of a village of 200 inhabitants.

Quarrying ceased here in 1939, and the last resident left 20 years later. The cottages’ descent into dereliction was hastened by a hippy commune which settled here in the 1970s, stripping timber from buildings for use as firewood. The site was purchased, after a major fundraising effort, from AMEY Roadstone Corporation in 1978 for conversion into the new National Language Centre. This new use for the former quarry village was the brainchild of Dr Carl Clowes, who had moved to the area in 1970 to work as a GP (family doctor). He saw a pressing need to create local employment.

The cottages were renovated and the centre ran its first Welsh-language residential courses in 1982. Since then more than 25,000 people have studied Welsh here, including actress Ruth Madoc and media personality Janet Street-Porter. From 2007 to 2011 the village underwent a £5m upgrade programme, including improvement of the steep hillside road into the valley. This was funded by several bodies including the Welsh Government, European Union and Heritage Lottery Fund.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL53 6NL

Nant Gwrtheyrn website

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