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Early transport

Some of the earliest photographs taken in Wales were of sailing ships at Swansea docks by Calvert Richard Jones. Like most early photographers who turned their attention to shipping, his photographs were taken at low tide when the vessels were firmly settled into the harbour mud. Exposure times were too long to contemplate a vessel bobbing around on the water.

Other noteworthy items in the collection include albums dedicated to docks at Port Talbot and Swansea, and views of sailing ships along the Meirionydd coast.

Railway photographs

Railways are a perennial theme amongst photographers. Railway photographs are to be found amongst the collections of Geoff Charles, D C Harries and John Thomas amongst many others.

Of a slightly different nature are the 20 prints to be found in photo album 5. This album was from the library of railway enthusiast Sir Henry Owen Philipps Scourfield, Bart., of Williamston, Pembrokeshire. The album dates from the 1870’s. Each photograph captures a different steam engine and tender, owned by one of many Victorian railway companies.

Wales’ rich heritage of narrow gauge railways has also received its fair share of attention, notably Brian Renders’ work on the Ffestiniog Railway. Arthur Lewis, the Aberystwyth photographer, took many fine photographs of the Vale of Rheidol railway.

Aviation photographs

Air Transport has been less of a feature of Welsh life but is still reflected in the collection. Hot air balloons were sometimes to be seen in the early years of the last century, though it was not until the 1910s that aeroplanes made occasional forays over Wales. One notable incident was the unscheduled arrival of the Vultee V-1 ‘Lady Peace’ near Llandeilo in 1936. This created an international sensation as the plane had just set a new record – 18h 36 minutes for a transatlantic flight.