Former Y Goleuad printworks, Caernarfon

Link to Welsh translationFormer Y Goleuad printworks, Caernarfon

Photo of front page of first edition of Y GoleuadA printworks in this building used to roll out a number of weekly papers including the Welsh Presbyterian newspaper Y Goleuad. The building was originally a warehouse, probably built when the nearby Victoria Dock was constructed in 1868 to 1875.

At one stage, two of the main printing works in Caernarfon were housed at this building. It is listed Grade II as a Victorian warehouse.

During the 19th century, Caernarfon was one of the main centres for printing and journalism in Wales. The slate industry drew people to the area and many were avid readers, thanks to the influence of the Nonconformist Sunday schools.

Before 1836, newspapers were expensive due to several imposed taxes. In 1836 the tax on paper itself was abolished; with the abolition of advertisement tax in 1853 and stamp tax on newspaper copies in 1855, the floodgates were opened. The years 1860-1895 saw a golden age of printing in Caernarfonshire.

After the advent of the first Welsh-language newspaper in 1836, many people could read about local and national news and matters which concerned and interested them in Welsh. There was a strong link between religion and the editorial chair, and much of the content was written in a serious vein from a masculine perspective.

Y Goleuad (which means “The Illumination”) was a weekly Welsh-language newspaper supportive of Liberal politics. It circulated between 1869 and 1919 to Welsh Calvanistic Methodists throughout Wales in and major English cities. It reflected denominational interests and advocated temperance and radicalism. The front page of the first edition is shown here courtesy of the National Library of Wales.

The last printer left the building in 1991. After being empty for a number of years, the old warehouse was taken over by Welsh media company Cwmni Da, ensuring that the building continues to play a part in keeping Welsh language and culture alive.

With thanks to Ann Lloyd Jones, of Caernarfon Civic Society

Postcode: LL55 1SR    View Location Map

Website of Cwmni Da