Following the Scarred Wales series of photographs Lewis Richards has again focussed his work on the coal industry. He's photographed one of the most well known areas, famed for providing children of the coal miners to a ‘holiday’ away from the coal mining environment. These images display what has become of this area following the collapse of the Welsh coal mines.
In 1925, a summer camp known as Boys' Village was opened, welcoming boys only, whose family members worked within the coal industry. This allowed the children the opportunity to depart from the valleys and relax near the beach front and the tranquil surroundings. At present, many buildings remain, including those of the main dining hall, dormitories, the gymnasium, swimming pool and a church. Although over time, a few buildings were forced to be demolished according to health and safety officials. Due to the decline of the coal mining industry, the boys’ village summer camp was made to close in the 1960’s, as funding was no longer availabl Since the closure up until the year 2000, boys’ village remained unused. However, in 2000 the village was sold to a new owner, who stripped it of its equipment and rented it to a family. The family moved out in 2008 and the village was again abandoned and, at that point, had been taken over by graffiti artists and vandals. In 2010 the village was placed for sale without any protection on the buildings, which then meant they could be cleared for redevelopment. At this present time, permission has been granted for the buildings to be demolished, which will evaporate the scarring that remained following the closure of the coal industry. However, the buyer is unknown to the public, meaning any future intentions are also unknown. Could the village be scarred by commercial use? Such as the power plant situated next to the village? Or will it reform to its previous glory of natural growth?
I have been interested within the landscape area of photography and documentary since a small age, after completing my degree in photography I have undertaken a PGCE so I am now able to teach photography. I am undertaking many projects at the moment which are about the Welsh Landscape and the environmental issues within the landscape. The books such as ST0267 and Scarred Wales? are examples of the type of work that I am currently creating documenting scenes and areas usually missed by the 'normal' public.
SS9168 Published April 24, 2014