South Wales, 1970s.

South Wales in the 1970s | Photographs by Robin Weaver

British Culture Archive

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 of documentary photography – capturing the everyday lives of people in and around the valleys of South Wales.

Robin “These photographs have developed a special character, It’s 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.”

Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, 1977.
Dowlais, Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales, 1977. Photo © Robin Weaver.

Evocative

The evocative images in our gallery below highlight a simple life for many living in the Welsh valleys, though it wasn’t without its hardships. In 1970s South Wales de-industrialisation impacted many, including the workers of Ebbw Vale Steel Works who faced redundancy after the closure of their plant 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.

Blaenavon

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 Stack Square, Blaenavon, South Wales, 1972. Photo © Robin Weaver.

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

Corner Shop in Splott, Cardiff, 1970s.
Corner Shop. Splott, Cardiff, 1974. Photo © Robin Weaver.

Splott

“This is a corner shop in Splott, Cardiff, 1974. It’s one of my favourite 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.”

Gallery

Pill, Newport, 1970s.
A Woman heads to the shops down a bricked up Capel Crescent, Pill, Newport, 1976. In the 1970s whole streets were condemned and demolished for regeneration. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Children playing in Pill, Newport, 1970s.
Kids play on an abandoned car in Courtybella Terrace, Pill Newport, 1974. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Boy on a Raleigh Chopper. Newport, South Wales, 1970s.
Pill, Newport, South Wales, 1974. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Pancake Race. Bettws, 1970s.
Pancake Race. Bettws Shopping Centre, Newport, 1975. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Newport, South Wales, 1970s.
During the 1970s kids liked to play up to the camera. Newport, South Wales, 1972. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Kids in Newport, South Wales, 1970s.
Pepsi Kids. Newport, 1978. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Abergavenny, South Wales, 1970s.
Farmers Wives at Abergavenny Cattle Market, 1970s. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Llandovery, South Wales, 1970s.
Sheep Auction in Llandovery, South Wales, 1977. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Outdoor market, Newport, South Wales, 1974
Outdoor market, Newport, South Wales, 1974. Photo © Robin Weaver.
A foggy day in Troedyrhiw, Merthyr Tydfil, 1970s.
A foggy day in Troedyrhiw, South Wales, 1973. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Blaenavon, South Wales, 1970s.
Ladies going to Chapel on Sunday evening. Blaenavon, South Wales, 1977. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Aberbeeg, Abertillery, Gwent, South Wales, 1976.
Woodland Terrace. Aberbeeg, South Wales, 1973. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Minding the baby. Splott, Cardiff, 1975.
Minding the baby. Splott, Cardiff, 1974. Photo © Robin Weaver.
Treharris, South Wales, 1970s.
Webster Terrace, Treharris, South Wales, 1977. Photo © Robin Weaver.

All photos © Robin Weaver, all rights reserved.

Robin Weaver | Print Sales

A selection of Robin Weaver’s prints are exclusively available to buy from our online shop.

BCA is committed to making quality photography accessible and affordable. All profits from print sales supports the photographers and the work of BCA.

South Wales in the 1970s | Photographs by Robin Weaver

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