South Wales in the 1970s | Photographs by Robin Weaver

Robin Weaver’s stunning photos of South Wales in the 1970s capture a different era in Welsh culture – faces and places that are no longer with us, images frozen in time before the onset of the hyper-connected world we live in today.

South Wales 1970s

After leaving Newport College of Art in the 1970s, Robin worked as a photographer for the South Wales Argus. Aside from his day job, photographing everything from mayoral visits to rugby matches, Robin followed his passion for documentary photography – capturing the everyday lives of people in and around the valleys of South Wales.

“These photographs have developed a special character – a unique sheen imbued by the passage of time. Looking through these photographs today, decades later, I find myself not only in a different time but also in a different country.” – Robin Weaver.

Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, 1977.
Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, 1977.

Photo © Robin Weaver.


The images in our gallery below highlight a simple way of life for many living in the Welsh valleys, although it was not without its hardships. In the 1970s, de-industrialisation impacted many in South Wales, including the workers of Ebbw Vale Steel Works who faced redundancy after their plant closed in 1975.

Ebbw Vale Steelworkers.
Ebbw Vale Steelworkers listen in stunned silence as they are told the battle to save their plant has failed.

Photo © Robin Weaver.


In Blaenavon – famous for its Big Pit Colliery and Ironworks, Robin documented everyday life in the town and the last residents of the ironworkers’ cottages. The cottages now form part of the Blaenavon Ironworks museum within the UNESCO World Heritage site.” 

Blaenavon, South Wales, 1970s.
Mr Parfitt, the last resident of the ironworkers' cottages in Bunkers Row, Blaenavon, South Wales, 1972.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

Robin “I was taking some moody shots of the row of empty cottages when Mr. Parfitt (aged 84) came out of one of them. His wife then invited me in for a cup of tea. They were the last residents and were due to be rehoused, but they were still very proud of their neat and cosy home.”

Corner Shop in Splott, Cardiff, 1970s.
Corner Shop. Splott, Cardiff, 1974.

Photo © Robin Weaver.


“The above image was taken at a corner shop in Splott, Cardiff, 1974. It’s one of my favorite photos, which is full of little details – things you don’t see anymore like bacon slicers and glass milk bottles. The girl is probably spending her pocket money on a comic and some sweets, and I love the look of pleasure on her face.”


Pill, Newport, 1970s.
Kids play on an abandoned car in Courtybella Terrace, Pill Newport, 1974.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

Pancake Race. Bettws, 1975.
Pancake Race. Bettws Shopping Centre, Newport, 1975.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

Abergavenny, South Wales, 1970s.
Farmers Wives at Abergavenny Cattle Market, 1970s.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

Photo of Hendrewen Road, Blaencwn near Treherbert, 1973.
Hendrewen Road, Blaencwn near Treherbert, 1973.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

Aberbeeg, Abertillery, Gwent, South Wales, 1976.
Woodland Terrace. Aberbeeg, South Wales, 1973.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

Minding the baby. Splott, Cardiff, 1974.
Minding the baby. Splott, Cardiff, 1974.

Photo © Robin Weaver.

All photos © Robin Weaver, all rights reserved.




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