Photography by John Ball - 2.00pm 11 October 1998
(with an Agfa ePhoto307 digital camera)
During a recent visit to Penwyllt, I came upon these old ruins of a row of workers' cottages near the limestone quarry. Penwyllt is in an isolated spot, high up in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
Above: The cottages are now visited only by the occasional sheep.
Above: As I approached the cottages, I could see that the roof had collapsed.
Above: The first cottage in the row seemed temptingly accessible.
(see also Postscript at bottom of page)
Above: Looking through the front window (left), I could see into the former living room.
Through the front doorway, this staircase (right) led up to the bedroom, whose floor had
collapsed. To the right, however, I could gain access to the living room.
Above: Looking through the living room (left) I could see the kitchen, no longer accessible.
The old fireplace (right) in the living room is not the original. Traces of a brick archway
show where the original open fireplace must have been. A collapsed ceiling joist now
bars the way but it is still possible to imagine the family huddled for warmth round
the fire in the winter.
Above: The view from the front of the cottages. Penwyllt limestone quarry is still
(in 1998) being worked, but the quarrymen no longer live so close to their work.
Postscript - added 3rd February 2002
After seeing the photographs of the quarryworkers' cottages at Penwyllt, Alan Doyle from the West Midlands wrote:
Thank you for the pictures of the old cottages in Penwyllt, which bring back a lot of old memories from over 50 years ago. The cottages were called 'Patti's Cottages' after the famous Madame Adelina Patti, the opera singer who lived in the nearby Craig-y-nos Castle.
I was born in one of those cottages and lived there until I was nine. My father and his family had lived there for many years before, going back to when the old brickworks was in operation. The remains of the brickworks are on the south side of the village where the cavers now have their premises in old Powell Street.
As a boy, I sat for many an hour in the house where you show the living room and stairs. The house belonged to old neighbours of ours, sadly long departed.
Although we moved from the village, I lived locally in Coelbren with my parents until I was about 23 years old and then moved on, eventually to where I am now in the West Midlands.
If anyone wants to contact me about Penwyllt, I can go back quite a few years to when the railway was still in operation and all the cottages, including the other houses, were fully occupied.