Y Caban, Brynrefail

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Y Caban, Brynrefail

This community building and garden is named after the messrooms where the quarrymen of North Wales would eat their lunch and socialise.

The caban (meaning “hut”) was a sanctuary from the dangers and discomfort of working on exposed rock faces. It evolved from being a cramped wooden shed to a building with space for everyone who worked in that part of the quarry to eat, sing and talk. Each caban had a committee and president. Topics discussed included politics, religious reform and union affairs. Prayer meetings and retirement parties were held in the caban at times. Some cabanau even organised their own lunchtime eisteddfodau, inviting people from outside to judge competitions in poetry, prose, singing, recitation and group music.

A similar mix of food, culture and socialising can be found today in Y Caban. The idea for the centre took root in 1997, when local artists held a summer exhibition in Llanberis and decided that the area needed a year-round facility where artists could work, exhibit and sell. A cooperative company (limited by guarantee) called Caban Cyf was formed, and the project’s scope expanded.

With funding from the European Union and Gwynedd Council, the new building was erected on the site of the old Brynrefail school. There’s a photo of the imposing school building in the foyer.

The council leases the building to Caban Cyf, which moved in on St David’s Day 2004. Y Caban is home to a variety of small businesses, and provides facilities for community events. The garden at the rear supplies some of the ingredients for dishes served in the café, including honey from the beehives.

Where is this HiPoint?

Postcode: LL55 3NR

Website of Y Caban

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