This book tells the already half forgotten story of one of the small slate ports of North Wales, Bangor,and the great Penrhyn Quarry
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The small slate ports of North Wales, Bangor and its close and essential connection with the great Penrhyn Quarry and with its formidably rich owners, the Pennant family. The small schooners and brigantines, built in the shipyards of Bangor and vessels built elsewhere but owned by Bangor men and manned by Gwynedd seamen, carried slate to practically every port in the United Kingdom and many on the continent of Europe. They played their part also in the general seaborne trading of the nation. The growing native contribution to this capital enterprise in the shadow of the great Pennant wealth is described as it approaches its zenith in the third quarter of the nineteenth century and some of the persons involved, as shipbuilders, owners or seamen are mentioned.
It was not until the 1880s that the tonnage of slate despatched by rail overtook that sent by sea. That, and the improved efficiency of the marine steam engine and the appearance of iron and steel ships, foretold the end for the small wooden coasting vessel. The end came with the 1914-18 war.
M. Elis-Williams is also the author of Packet to Ireland — Porthdinllaen’s Challenge to Holyhead (Gwynedd Archives Service 1984) and of several articles in Maritime Wales/Cymru a’r MOT. Educated at Friars School, Bangor and Jesus College, Oxford where he read Classics, he served on Air/Sea Rescue vessels of the R.A.F. in the U.K. and Mediterranean in World War II. He returned to his old school as its Headmaster in 1954 and served for twenty-five years. He is a keen yachtsman and Rear-Commodore of the Port Dinorwic Sailing Club.