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Cymraeg

What Did Quarrymen Wear?

Slate Workers

Years ago the quarryman wore white clothes — white corduroy trousers, a fustian waistcoat and a white linen jerkin. He also wore a bowler hat and hobnailed boots. (Before safety helmets were devised, the hard bowler gave the head some measure of protection.) In bad weather he wore a coat of coarse tweed: on a rainy day, rather than a raincoat, he wore an old sack on his back. Most of the work clothes came from G.O. Griffith's shop in Caernarfon. As the famous Welsh novelist Kate Roberts, who was born in Rhosgadfan, Caernarfonshire in 1891, remembers, these clothes would have been physically difficult for the women to wash:

'The quarryman's wife dreaded washday….Mam, and I don't know how she did it, would carry this big, oval pan, with the working clothes in it, and put it under the water spout to rinse them, in all weathers. All weathers. And it was difficult to get them dry, terribly difficult in winter.'

They must have been glad when practical, easy-wash overalls came into fashion later on.

Corduroy trousers for working in the quarry, and heavy shoes, with great iron horseshoes on the heel