Blaenau Ffestiniog - town of slate – is a remarkably well-defined nineteenth-century industrial town, whose rapid growth was entirely sustained by slate quarrying, and whose character was laid down in just a few decades. Overshadowed by the slate quarries, the town is linked to its surrounding industrial and rural landscapes by a mesh of tracks, roads and railways. The town itself is a series of communities strung together as a long, linear settlement. Its housing stock seems remarkably uniform until closer inspection reveals a series of subtle distinctions – small differences in size and scale, variations in the way building materials were used and finished, and in plot layouts and their boundaries. These distinctions helped to differentiate its society in the nineteenth century, and are still important elements of its character today.
The study was prepared to help inform emerging proposals for regeneration in Blaenau Ffestiniog, and to act as a baseline for planning and management in the town. It also provides an introduction to the historical character of the town as a whole as a source of information for anyone wanting to get to know Blaenau Ffestiniog better.