Points of Interest
Delta Pennsylvania is a place of great interest to the slate world. Peach Bottom slate was quarried from this area until 1942. The cultural and industrial history of the area is expertly handled in The River and The Ridge, a book written in 2003 by Roger Wilson, Don Robinson, James Morris and David Glen. Proceeds from the book support the Old Line Museum in Delta. It is highly recommended (and a lot of fun to read).
The Slate Valley is the twenty miles of valley running down the Vermont/New York border below Lake Champlain. This has been the heart of domestic slate since the 1840’s and, like Delta PA, has been written about in a fine book titled New Lives in The Valley, by Gwilym Roberts. He describes in detail the various waves of immigration, the quarries and the quarriers. This is available from Hermit Hill Books in Poultney, Vermont.
In Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England, a Saxon chapel built in the eighth century still stands. Along with the building, the original slate roof has survived over thirteen hundred years, moss-covered but in good condition!
A poem by Ceri Wyn Jones:
(My father’s family hail from Blaenau Ffestiniog,
which is overlooked by the Moelwyn mountains.)
In these screes, I cannot see
a sign of my ancestry,
or find, in this slump of slates
their chisel strokes, undated,…
nor find their names, their faces,
their gravestones, – a single trace.
And yet, my father’s fathers
are in my bones, and they are
the tumbled rocks. They swear and sing,
a catch in my own breathing.
The metres of this country
are stone on stone inside me.
Translated by Elin ap Hywel