It’s a well known fact that Welsh slate is the finest quality slate in the world. Quarried from North Wales from as early as the 12th century, it is the toughest slate known to man, with very few impurities and a beautiful colour and grain structure.
The slate itself is approximately 500 million years old and is made by the compression of clay over time, thanks to the movement of the tectonic plates – which helped form the Welsh Mountains.
The high quality of the slate is the result of a combination of high quality of the clay and the precise amount of pressure and heat that it was subjected to over time.
The History of Welsh Slate
The slate is still being quarried today using very similar methods to those that the slate workers used over a hundred years ago – each and every piece of slate is still being hand split by skilled slate workers using the same tools.
Since the Roman times, in roughly AD77, slate was championed as a premier building material and during its most popular times, the slate industry was mining about 500,000 tonnes of the material every year! It was shipped worldwide to as far as Australia, for people who wanted to achieve the feel and look of our beautiful country. The demand for slate for building purposes has since declined but its production for use as high-end home ware products has since soared.
Due to the unique qualities of Welsh slate, it has become the best and only choice for many home ware products, such as placemats, coasters, cheese boards, wine racks, clocks, house signs and many others. Indeed, slate home and tableware has become increasingly popular over the last decade. Interior designers, hotels, restaurants and, of course, the everyday consumer are now buying more slate than ever.
Valley Mill’s Welsh Slate
At Valley Mill, we only use Welsh Blue Grey Slate, although it is in fact a dark grey in appearance, which is mined from Blaenau Ffestiniog. It is then sent to our Crynant workshop where it is hand cut, engraved and oiled ready to be sent to our Swansea store, to one of over 100 stores that we supply around the UK or direct to your home.
Head over to our website at www.valleymill.co.uk to find our huge range of Welsh slate homeware and gifts, alongside a beautiful selection of other Welsh handmade products.