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Communities - Activities


Llanberis' first carnival, 1950s.Voluntary organisations flourished to a remarkable extent in the slate quarrying areas, cultural,  sporting, political and religious. One doctor claimed that one reason for quarrymen's poor health was that they were rushing to some committee or another every evening: chapel activities, choir practice, football, billiards, band, trade union Friendly and Benefit Society or Liberal organisations. Of all these, it was the chapel that watched over and shaped society so much. Each chapel was a hive of activity, and not only on a Sunday. The vast Capel Jerusalem at Bethesda in 1900 had a weekly timetable that ran thus:

Day Time Event
Sunday 09.00 am Prayer Meeting for the young
10.00am Sermon
02.00pm Sunday School
05.00pm Singing Meeting
06.00pm Sermon
Monday Prayer Meeting
Tuesday Church Organisational Meeting
Wednesday Five Study Meetings
Literary Society
Thursday Four Study Classes
Friday Band of Hope

Very little serious crime occurred, and what little there was dominated by drunkenness.  Even though temperance and total abstinence were important influences in the community, there was an abundance of public houses standing cheek by jowl in the high street of both Bethesda and Blaenau Ffestiniog. Street fighting and brawling were not uncommon, and neither was poaching. Indeed, the chapels themselves disciplined any promiscuous behaviour that might arise. It was against this background that industrial unrest developed especially after 1865. 


Masthead of `Y Drych', a newspaper published for the Welsh community in the United States, 22 September 1881. [University of Wales, Bangor]

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