THE FACTORY GIRLS @ World Heritage Site, Blaenavon

THE FACTORY GIRLS @ World Heritage Site, Blaenavon

Blaenavon World Heritage Centre (map)

The Factory Girls is a body of work by photographer Walter Waygood showing at the World Heritage site at Blaenavon and are to be viewed for the very first time since the camera's shutter button was pressed in the late 1970's.

Walter Waygood's documentary The 'FAMILY OF MINERS’, a National Museum of Wales permanent collection of photographs, can be seen at the Pit Head Baths, National Coal Museum, Big Pit. Just over a year ago these same pictures were used as a backdrop for the BBC programme, 'The Miners Who Made Us' . This programme portrayed the life of the Welsh Miners with a balanced history that was devoid of romantic, nostalgic sentimentality. The pride and dignity was shown through a variety of personalities which acted as a memorial to the men who worked in this hard industry. Women, the miners wives, were mentioned in the background especially during the Miners Strike campaign in their supportive role. On reflection, Walter wanted to redress a picture portraying working class Valley culture and present a more comprehensive family view of the men and women who made us. In reality it was the men, women and even the children who worked in these heavy industries that formed a complete family unit and out of this unity came the camaraderie and hard working ethos that formed the backbone of community life.

After a twenty year exile in Hampshire and a retirement from lecturing, a return to his spiritual home of Merthyr Tydfil allowed him to edit and archive images taken 40 years ago.

Miners and Factory Girls’ is a fascinating collection of photographs taken from two iconic industries. Walter has succeeded in combining striking and honest images of two very different work forces whilst managing, somewhat magically, to highlight and compare hidden similarities. The Miners are seen in all their working glory with evidence of their hard toil; the Factory Girls are almost immaculately dressed, but both glow with an undoubted pride for their work. Big Pit prides itself on telling the story of mining throughout the centuries, but also recognising the important part that women played within the mining communities. Big Pit is a living museum, recording the past for the future. Walters work and foresight in combining ‘Miners and Factory Girls’ contributes to the same ideals and is a true reflective body of work and two work forces working together for common goals- self -preservation, pride and ambition.
— Kathryn Jenkins - Communcations Offficer, Big Pit

The FACTORY GIRLS exhibition at the World Heritage Centre, Blaenavon runs 1-27 May 2019.
Check the website for opening times -

The FAMILY OF MINERS permanent display is on show at the National Coal Museum, Big Pit, Blaenavon.

The book MINERS & FACTORY GIRLS can be purchased for £9.99 by contacting the photographer at: to purchase.

Walter Waygood will also be a speaker at the MERTHYR RISING festival 25th May with a talk: ‘ART, POLITICS and PHOTOGRAPHY’. Followed by a Q&A session with David Owen, journalist at WalesOnline.

A day with Antony Penrose, curator of the Lee Miller Archives - RPS

A day with Antony Penrose, curator of the Lee Miller Archives - RPS

Talbot Green Community Centre (map)

THE SOUTH WALES REGION ORGANISERS OF THE ROYAL PHOTOGRAPHIC SOCIETY HAVE Antony Penrose, photographer and the son of surrealist artist Sir Roland Penrose and the surrealist and war documentary photographer Lee Miller as guest speaker for a day event in Pontyclun near Llantrisant on 21 July 2019. Anthony is the curator of the Lee Miller Photographic Archives and author of several books.

The Lee Miller archive consists of approx 60,000 of her negatives, mainly B&W, manuscripts, captions, notes, letters, her cameras, some personal effects (including her US Army uniform). The archive also contains approx 3,000 images by Sir Roland Penrose and photography by David E Schuerman, Man Ray, Antony Penrose and Andrew Lanyon.

Tickets are available now:
RPS Member - £12.00
Non RPS Member - £18.00
(Teas, coffees, cold drinks and biscuits are included in the price. Attendees are asked to bring their own packed lunches)

More information of the day’s programme and ticket booking on the RPS website event page >

The Lee Miller Archives are held at Farleys House and Gallery, Farley Farm, Muddles Green, Chiddingly East Sussex BN8 6HW 

Banner image © Lee Miller Archive