39 Vintage Photos Showing A Child’s Life in Wales, 1939-1962

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2011 of 3,063,456 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate.

Welsh national identity emerged among the Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd’s death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England’s conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndwr briefly restored independence to Wales in the early 15th century. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. Distinctive Welsh politics developed in the 19th century. Welsh Liberalism, exemplified in the early 20th century by David Lloyd George, was displaced by the growth of socialism and the Labour Party. Welsh national feeling grew over the century; a nationalist party, Plaid Cymru was formed in 1925, and the Welsh Language Society in 1962. Established under the Government of Wales Act 1998, the Senedd (the Welsh Parliament, formerly known as the National Assembly for Wales) is responsible for a range of devolved policy matters.

At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, development of the mining and metallurgical industries transformed the country from an agricultural society into an industrial nation; the South Wales Coalfield’s exploitation caused a rapid expansion of Wales’ population. Two-thirds of the population live in South Wales, including the capital Cardiff along with Swansea, Newport and the nearby valleys. The eastern region of North Wales has about a sixth of the overall population with Wrexham being the largest northern town. The remaining parts of Wales are sparsely populated. Now that the country’s traditional extractive and heavy industries have gone or are in decline, the economy is based on the public sector, light and service industries, and tourism. In livestock farming, including dairy farming, Wales is a net exporter, contributing towards national agricultural self-sufficiency.

Wales closely shares its political and social history with the rest of Great Britain, and a majority of the population in most areas speaks English as a first language, but the country has retained a distinct cultural identity. Both Welsh and English are official languages; over 560,000 Welsh-speakers live in Wales, and the language is spoken by a majority of the population in parts of the north and west. From the late 19th century onwards, Wales acquired its popular image as the “land of song”, in part due to the eisteddfod tradition. At many international sporting events, such as the FIFA World Cup, Rugby World Cup and the Commonwealth Games, Wales has its own national team. At the Olympic Games, Welsh athletes compete for the UK as part of a Great Britain team. Rugby union is seen as a symbol of Welsh identity and an expression of national consciousness. (Wikipedia)

A New Year party for the children of Brithdir near Dolgellau, 1955
The Urdd camp, Llangranog. 1947.
Barber’s chair at Menai Bridge in the shape of a small car. 1958
Children outside air raid shelter, Gresford. 1939
A boxing school established in Llanarmon by W G Buchanan, an ex-air force boxing champion, and the Rev T D Williams. 1958
Colliery boys holiday camp, St Athan’s. 1951
Proclamation of the Urdd National Eisteddfod 1964 at Porthmadog, June 1963
Singing class at Gobowen Orthopaedic Hospital. 1954
Girl patient at Gobowen Orthopaedic Hospital with pet lamb. 1954
Christmas party for evacuees and children in Llanidloes. 1939
Evacuees arrive, 1939.
Cwmbach Street Party, 1951.
Standard Eight road test, 1953.
Sea-side views from around the North Wales coast for a pictorial supplement. 1959
Irish gypsies in Anglesey. 1963
Evacuees, 1939.
Llandudno Sea Fishing Society competition, 1962.
Wem schoolchildren learning domestic skills and gardening. 1947
Harlescott [Junior] School Sports, 1952.
Llangefni children enjoying the sun with their pet rabbit, 1964.
The McGrath Family emigrating to Canada from Wrexham, 1948.
British Legion carnival in Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant. 1956
Geoff Charles’ children wearing their St David’s Day leeks. 1957
Whitchurch [War Memorial] Hall Chrysanthemum Show. 1949
Girls carrying water, Anglesey. 1962
Children building an igloo in the snow. 1955
Children of Moss Valley, near Wrexham. 1953
Derek Hopley, winner of the Midland Area final of the National Association of Boys Clubs flyweight championship. 1952
Dolgellau Fair. 1956
A tame fox cub at home with Mr and Mrs Gordon Jones, Talysarn. 1959
Llanelwedd School activities. 1953
Longden Bay Go-cart Racers. 1953
Craftwork at Newtown Church School. 1939
Ian Williams of Trewern, Welshpool who dug up a “V-shaped” for victory potato, 1941.
Boys of the Newtown Scout troop collecting waste paper, 1939.
Evacuees in Montgomeryshire, 1939.

Via: National Library of Wales

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