William Harwood was born in Stalybridge and brought up in nearby Dukinfield. The family lived at 29 Kay Street for over twenty years. Harwood and his three sisters were brought up in by their mother, father Daniel Harwood having died when William was an infant. On leaving school he worked as a Library Assistant and later a sales representative for a photographic company. He and his family, (wife Bertha, daughters Edith and Margaret) moved to Cricieth in 1925, opening a Toy & Fancy Goods shop. To be seen in his shop window amongst the buckets, spades tinplate toys and china ornaments were high quality real photographic postcards of the Cricieth area featuring local scenes and events. Photography was his passion and it is for his photography that he is remembered. These varied from snowstorms, coastal erosion, sheepdog trials and the local celebrities- the Lloyd George family. Geographically William Harwood restricted his postcard output to an area between Afon Wen in the west and Blackrock Sands to the east. Harwood produced these cards using a Goertz Plate Camera as well as using half-plate and quarter-plate models. His postcards were produced from 1926 until his retirement in 1958. The family did not employ anyone else in the business and all the processing of Harwood’s plates was done in the basement.
The negatives for many of his postcards and his other photographs were purchased by the Library in 1974. Each one has since been carefully printed to A4 size and bound in volumes of approximately 100 prints. These are numbered as photo albums 1577-1588.
Although his postcards were restricted to a narrow geographical range his negatives are of a far wider area including Aberystwyth, Llanfair Talhaiarn, Dolbenmaen, Caernarfon, Prestatyn, Rhyl and rural Cheshire to name a few. He also operated a portrait studio at one time.