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Pay, Strikes and Living Conditions - Quarry Management 

pay and living conditions strikes 1900-1903 penrhyn strike
development of trade unionism quarry management  

Transfer of Power at Penrhyn.

Lord Penrhyn meeting Quarrymen's RepresentativesThe first Lord Penrhyn transferred the management of the quarry to his son and heir in 1885. Tensions rose to the surface in that year in a meeting calling for the Disestablishment of the Church in Wales. Trouble resulted, and the heir to Castell Penrhyn and its estates decided through his legal representatives to try and discover whom among his workforce had been involved. The exercise proved futile, but the quarry workforce were informed, nevertheless, that any quarryman accused of a breach of the peace would face instant dismissal. To add insult to injury, this was followed by a further announcement that the 1874 Pennant Lloyd Agreement was henceforth a dead letter, since allegedly the state of the slate market was too low to warrant the payment of the minimum wage. And on top of it all, it was decided by Lord Penrhyn that every substantial complaint was to made on an individual basis to the chief manager, and that any collective representation was regarded as an attempt to come between the quarry owner and his workers. The excuse behind this was claimed to be the right of any non-union member to make his own representations. Three union members and three non-union members of the workforce sent a letter of protest. His reaction was to dismiss the three union members who had deigned to challenge him. True, the three union members were re-employed three months later, but the seeds of the festering feeling of antagonism had been sown by the heir, and by the heir alone.

The man from London came - 1886

As the old lord aged, it became increasingly apparent to his son that efficiency in the running of the quarry was sorely lacking. In 1886, a year after taking over the administration of the quarry, and the year when he became the second Lord Penrhyn, a new chief manager was appointed in place of Arthur Wyatt. His name was Emilius Alexander Young. A member of the London firm of accountants Turquand, Young & Co., there is no doubt as to E.A. Young's ability as an accountant and financial advisor. The second Lord Penrhyn's wish was to secure complete dominance over his workers at the Bethesda Quarry. Both he and Young were on the same wavelength, because as far as Young was concerned this went hand in hand with sound business sense. And so was founded an alliance that would in the course of time make Bethesda and the Penrhyn Quarry a Waterloo in the quarrying world. Indeed, for a few years Penrhynism became a new word in the English language until Kaiserism and Hitlerism superseded it. But since it was the name of E.A.Young that appeared at the bottom of every poster during the industrial disputes from 1886 onwards, rather than Penrhyn, it follows that it was Young who was happily and thoroughly despised during the dispute. But from the second Lord Penrhyn's actions in 1885, it cannot be ignored that he had a very subservient ear in the person of Emilius Alexander Young. Common gossip still holds in Bethesda that Young was buried in the depths of a mid September night. In truth, he was buried on a sunny Saturday afternoon in September at Llandygai. However, a search for his tombstone has been unfruitful.

A draft notice by Lord Penrhyn warning quarrymen not to support the Quarrymen's Union, University of Wales, Bangor

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