John Davies

Portrait of John Davies

In June 1984, John Davies was commissioned to photograph the industrialised landscapes within the Rhymney Valley. This long and narrow valley stretches for about 25 miles from the Caerphilly Basin northwards to Rhymney and the ‘Heads of the Valleys’.

Like its neighbouring South Wales valleys of the Taff and Ebbw, the Rhymney Valley has seen an enormous growth in population and industrial activity over the last hundred years. Throughout the 19th century numerous settlements were created to accommodate the massive labour force required for mining and transporting the millions of tons of coal. New communities were established around the pits, in places like Bargoed and New Tredegar. However with the decline of this heavy industry in the latter part of the twentieth century, only two collieries were still in production within the Valley. John Davies’ photographs are a testament to this new post-industrial landscape, and his poignant images, which focus on the emblematic symbols of history, are an apposite comment on the changing face of the Valleys.


John Davies - The Valleys Project, 1984