Walter Waygood

Portrait of Walter Waygood

In 1989, Wally Waygood was specifically commissioned to add a new dimension to the Valleys Project, taking the concept out of the art gallery and into the public domain. The photographer, a local of Merthyr Tydful and living near Dowlais Top on the Heads of the Valleys Road, was particularly interested in the history of the area. An area for ever associated with a visit from King Edward VIII in November 1936, who was appalled by the loss of the Dowlas Top steel works and the livelihoods of the work force. The King proclaimed profoundly to an assembled mass of miners, “Something Must Be Done”. History tells us that nothing was done and Merthyr never recovered fully from the industrial decline of the 1930’s. Waygood’s photo-montage ‘memorial’ to this moment in history features an archetypal miner replete with lamp surveying the landscape, with the King’s immortal words emblazoned across the billboard: a simple but poignant conflation of image and text to comment wryly on the exchange between the Welsh working class and the English monarch.


Walter Waygood - The Valleys Project, 1989