One of my favourite on-line collections of vintage photographs is held by the National Library of Wales and features the work of Geoff Charles, a prolific photojournalist who captured Welsh life with his camera from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The National Library of Wales holds a valuable collection of 120,000 negatives of his work. His photographs are priceless as they chronicle various aspects of life in Wales and the Borders. His images record far more than events and personalities; everyday life of ordinary people is also depicted and a vanished way of life is revealed in many of his photographs.

To select just a few photographs to illustrate this blog has been an interesting exercise as I have decided to choose images from my own camera which are of a similar theme.


The first pair of pictures are of carnival floats, the photo on the left by Geoff Charles was taken in 1954 at Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant Carnival obviously mimicking one of the new adverts of the era You can’t tell Stork from Butter, alongside which is one of mine taken from a similar angle at Porthcawl carnival in 1973 portraying the Common Market which was a major topic at the time.


The second pair are of a similar nature and show youngsters dressed up as farmers for a tableaux or play and the one on the left by Geoff Charles was taken at the 1961 National Eisteddfod at Amlwch. Mine by comparison shows a group similarly clothed for a play at Hope Baptist Chapel in 1975.


The third pair I have chosen show boys fishing in a river, the Geoff Charles picture on the left shows two boys at Llangynog in 1954 with a salmon they have caught, whilst my April 1974 view at Aberkenfig also shows boys fishing, but no spectacular catches here. Mine though shows a view that cannot be repeated as the Aberkenfig bypass now obliterates this scene and a house has been built on the land to the left.

You can search the Geoff Charles Collection by following the link, be patient it takes some navigating but it’s well worthwhile; don’t forget to state which collection you wish to view for each new search. Links will open in a new window or tab; the Geoff Charles images link directly to the NLW website.