photograph album

William Clayton

photograph album

William Clayton


Album of photographs of female manual workers from the Tredegar Iron Works in Wales, taken by William Clayton. 48 cartes de visite in an embossed brown leather album. Inner leaf with a newspaper cutting from the Bristol Mercury, and the original owner in ink 'C B Crisp, 19 April 1865'. William Clayton was a commercial photographer with a studio in 19 Iron Street, Tredegar. His name appears in directories at that address between 1868 and 1895, although the images appear to be earlier than 1868. Apart from this there appears to be no further information or any other surviving photographs. The ‘Tredegar tip, or ‘patch’, girl’ series of ‘carte de visite’ were probably part of the new interest among the Victorian working class in ‘women in working clothes’ during the mid to late 19th century. It has been suggested that the Tredegar series of images were a private commission as they don’t appear to have been widely distributed. One interesting point is that the women photographed look a bit nervous, unlike the more confident ‘Pit Brow Lasses’ in the north of England. The article suggests that this was because the Welsh girls were less used to being photographed. The clothing of the Welsh girls seems to differ from the English pit brow lasses in detail. The wearing of trousers and short skirts doesn’t appear to be general even though newspaper reports state that that was quite common in Wales. A very important batch of mining images that are not very well known, even in Wales. - Information collated by Ceri Thompson (Curator - Big Pit: National Coal Museum) from an article (‘Visual cruising in South Wales in the 1860s’) in ‘Visual Culture in Britain’ magazine, Volume 7 Number 2 2006.

Object Name

photograph album

Creators Name

William Clayton

Date Created



album: 16cm x 13cm

accession number


Place of creation




© Manchester Art Gallery

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