back to archiveSnowdonia 2090?
The recent TV phenomenon ‘Snowdonia 1890’ aims to show people what life was like in a North Wales slate quarrying village in 1890, when 69% of the population spoke no English, the majority of communities were self-sufficient and the area was dominated by the slate industry.
The producers wanted to be as authentic as possible in the filming of the programme – ensuring that the two families really did have to tend to their own livestock, wash in a bucket, make their own butter, etc. The women’s daily routine involved an exhausting series of dusk ‘til dawn chores, while the men went off to work in the quarry. The series shows what a far cry from modern life the families endured and, importantly, how much can change in the space of just over one hundred years – the very structure of family life has altered dramatically, along with our ways of living and working as a result of technological advances and the breakdown of traditional industry. The notion of community and rural living is now also dramatically different to the Victorian age – families no longer need to be self-sufficient and depend on their local community in times of need.
Some of the changes may be lamentable; indeed, today many people are choosing to return to more self-sufficient ways and local communities are being revived through community initiatives and support. A reliance on the landscape and livestock obliged families in the late nineteenth century to respect and preserve their local environment as it was their source of food and income, while today the landscape and countryside is often viewed in terms of tourism and recreation rather than an important natural resource.
The Snowdonia Society does not wish for a return to the hardships of Victorian life in north Wales. We do, however, want to ask people to think about how Snowdonia might change in the next hundred years – and to ensure that where possible changes are positive and not destructive. While we certainly benefit from the technological advances of the last hundred years, we need to ensure that future technological and economical development does not take precedence over our natural heritage, but rather complements and benefits from the fantastic natural resources that remain, especially in our National Parks.
The Snowdonia Society works to protect, enhance and celebrate Snowdonia, ensuring that the landscape, wildlife and heritage of the area remain to be enjoyed by and to benefit future generations. We sincerely hope that the special qualities of this wonderful corner of Wales - its beauty, biodiversity and tranquillity - will still be cherished in 2090, despite the many changes the future is sure to bring. We will do all we can to ensure that the area is preserved and enhanced for the future, with thriving communities who are proud to protect the natural resources on which their local economy depends.
Image: Tony Armstrong