Gwynedd Archives: Caernarfon Record Office

Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union

Reference code(s): GB 0219 X/NWQU

Held at:

Title: Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union

Short title: North Wales Quarrymen's Union records

Dates of creation: 1879-1961

Level of description: Fonds

Extent and medium: Information to be supplied

Name of creator(s): North Wales Quarrymen's Union


Administrative and biographical history: The North Wales Quarrymen's Union (NWQU) was formed by workers at the Dinorwic Quarry, Caernarfonshire, in April 1874. The Union soon spread to Penrhyn Quarry and the rest of the North Wales slate areas. The Union consisted of several lodges, including Bethesda, Cesarea, Dinorwic, Ffestiniog, Nantlle and Dolwyddelan. Penrhyn Quarry was the site of major strikes. In 1896, the quarrymen had been locked out for eleven months because of a dispute between the workers and the owners, concerning the minimum wage. On that occasion, the workers were forced to return to work without gaining any concessions. On 22 November 1900, nearly 3,000 men walked out of the Penrhyn Quarry. The strike eventually ended in 1903 without resolving the main issue of Union recognition. In 1922, the NWQU membership voted to become part of the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU). However it continued to have a separate identity and maintained complete control over its internal affairs until 1960, when it became the TGWU (North Wales).


Scope and content: Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union, 1879-1961, including Union minute books, 1881-1933; lodge minutes, 1881-1927; accounts and balance sheets, 1909-1955; cash books and ledgers, 1885-1922; Union rolls, 1887-[c. 1913]; contributions books, 1887-1889; benefit registers, 1908-1922; receipts, 1917-1922; lodge records, 1895-1961; records relating to the annual conference and labour festival, 1898-1957; Union letter books, 1896-1939; lodge letter books, 1918-1921; correspondence, 1905-1955; Dinorwic Branch correspondence, 1892-1895; Union Solicitors records, 1900-1921; printed material, 1925-1939; records relating to the Penrhyn Strikes, 1896-1904; quarry records, 1924-1944; records relating to Dinesydd Publishing Co., 1925-1929; minutes of the Caernarvon Labour Council, 1912-1927; minutes of Gwyrfai Local Tribunal, 1916; memoranda books of Caernarvon Labour Party, 1924-1928; papers relating to the parliamentary candidature of R. T. Jones, 1915-1922; and miscellaneous papers, 1884-1932.


Language/script: Welsh, English

System of arrangement: Arranged into the following: Union minutes; Lodge minutes; Union accounts and balance sheets; Cash books and ledgers; Union roll and contribution books; Receipts; Lodge records; Programmes etc. relating to annual conference and labour festival; Union letter books; Lodge letter books; Correspondence files and general correspondence; Branch correspondence; Union solicitors' records; General union papers; Printed material; Papers relating to the Penrhyn strikes; Contributions to other strikes; Quarry company records; Records of Dinesydd publishing company; Minutes of Caernarvon Labour Council; Minutes etc. of Gwyrfai Local Tribunal; Papers relating to Caernarvon Labour Party; Papers relating to parliamentary candidature of R. T. Jones; and Miscellaneous.

Conditions governing access: No restrictions

Conditions governing reproduction: Usual copyright regulations apply.

Finding aids: Hard copies of the catalogue are available in Caernarfon Record Office and the National Register of Archives. The catalogue is available online.
Detailed catalogue


Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information: All records deposited at Caernarfon Record Office have been retained.

Accruals: Accruals are not expected


Related units of description: Further material is Caernarfon Record Office, XM/1379 and National Library of Wales, William John Parry MSS, MSS 8733-8741.


Note: Title supplied from contents of fonds

Archivist's note: Compiled by Richard Burman for the ANW project. The following sources were used in the compilation of this description: Caernarfon Record Office, Records of the North Wales Quarrymen's Union, catalogue; Jones, R. Merfyn, The North Wales Quarrymen 1874-1922 (Cardiff, 1982); Warwick University: Modern Records Centre website (, viewed 1 December 2004.

Rules or conventions: This description follows ANW guidelines based on ISAD(G) second edition, AACR2, and LCSH

Date(s) of description: December 2004



North Wales Quarrymen's Union | Records and correspondence

Strikes and lockouts | Slate industry | Wales | Bethesda (Gwynedd)

Trades unions | Wales, North, | Records and correspondence

Personal names

Corporate names

North Wales Quarrymen's Union

Penrhyn Quarry