Industrial cottages in the shadow of a granite mountain
The New York Cottages were built in the 1840s to house workers in the local granite quarrying industry. Their name, however, refers to the city to which many were emigrating at the time, in search of a new life.
Now a museum, this is a great place to drop by to see the interior of a Victorian worker’s cottage. While there you will be able to discover more about the rich archaeology and industrial history of Penmaenmawr, and see changing exhibitions on local history.
Fans of architecture should take a stroll along St David’s Street to look at the ‘Arts and Crafts’ style houses along the road. The Unitarian faith of the Darbishire family, the quarry managers, had a positive effect on the variety of Penmaenmawr’s buildings, with its range of workers’ housing – from the early New York Cottages to rows of terraces. They also sponsored a school, a co-operative store and community halls.
Quarrying has been going on here for thousands of years. The Darbishire’s granite quarry was a combination of earlier operations, and the mountain that soars above the town is still being worked by modern machinery today. Look up to see the outline of ‘drum-houses’. The drums, resembling giant cotton reels, lowered the quarried rock by counterbalancing full wagons going down the incline with empty wagons going up. The remains of a crushing plant and rows of sett-makers’ (men who shaped small squared stones) huts still survive. It’s hard to imagine how many thousands of cobblestones must have come from this mountain.