The Quarryman / Y Chwarelwr


Y Chwarelwr’ (‘The Quarryman’) was the first ever talkie in Welsh made by Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards and John Ellis Williams.

Slate is the lifeblood of Blaenau Ffestiniog, but its dust can be deadly, with a painful legacy for family and society. this drama portrays aspects of the quarryman’s life in Blaenau Ffestiniog – work, home, chapel, courtship – and indicates the importance of education to the younger generation. The story highlights the hardships and tough choices that were part and parcel of life in such a society, alongside its cultural vibrancy and community spirit.

Llechwedd Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog, was the location of this landmark film by Ifan ab Owen Edwards (scripted by John Ellis Williams, director of Blaenau’s amateur drama group whose members made up the cast). The film toured north Wales to great acclaim. it’s fourth reel of images missing (covering life after the father’s death), although the sound and script are held by NSSAW. Following the Archive’s restoration of the incomplete original, TV company Cwmni Da recreated the last reel and made a new soundtrack for the whole film, which is also available to view. Contemporary actors were used and the whole film was re-dubbed for continuity and new music added which was specially composed by Pwyll ap Sion. Through the restoration of the original reels and the addition of new material the film was brought to life to a new audience.

Welsh Connection / Production Details

Director / Writer: Ifan ab Owen Edwards
Script: John Ellis Williams
Cast: Robert Jones
Music composed by: Pwyll ap Sion
Production Company: Cwmni Da
Filming Location: Llechwedd Quarry, Blaenau Ffestiniog

Technical Details

Language: Welsh
Format: DVD
Length: 34 minutes (original reels)


Film Hub Wales Projects

  • The Quarryman was shown in the Sinemaes tent as part of the National Eisteddfod, introduced by National Poet of Wales Ifor Ap Glyn.

Rights: Screen and Sound Archive at the National Library of Wales