The Caban — (literally, the Cabin) was where Gilfach Ddu workers gathered in the lunch hour to eat their lunch and drink tea. This was their opportunity to socialise and to discuss current affairs; the Caban's President read aloud from the newspaper and announced details of local events such as concerts and special chapel services. It was an honour to be elected President of the Caban; it meant that the men greatly respected your wisdom and integrity. The men sat in a strict order, based around the stove which stood in the middle of the room, radiating its welcome warmth, which meant that the youngest boys sat closest to the door. What with the stove and wet coats drying, the atmosphere in the Caban must have been warm but muggy — and the ffowntan (or ‘fountain’), as the tea-urn was called, would be at a constant simmer, ready to brew the lunchtime tea. It was a cardinal sin to let it boil dry!
The quarrymen up on the galleries had their own cabanod, and often held eisteddfodau there, with all sorts of competitions, from solo recitations to ambulance teams.
‘You didn’t need the ‘Snowdon Echo’ or any local paper. There were people from from Waunfawr, Caernarfon, Llanrug, Cwm y Glo, all meeting there. So you knew what was happening in that village.’
‘There was a huge red fire awaiting us all.’