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Photo treasure trove charts key decades in Swansea’s rich history

Swansea Docks from the photographer's bedroom (Pic: by George Little, Swansea Council website)

A PRICELESS collection of photos showing Swansea more than half a century ago is now in the safekeeping of Swansea Museum.

The evocative images show the area in the 1960s and 1970s – around the time it became a city.

They were all taken by celebrated artist George Little who died in 2017, aged 89.

His widow Carolyn, of Caswell, has gifted them the Swansea Council-run museum for the good of people across the city.

Council cabinet member Elliott King said: “George Little’s photo archive is a beautiful collection of important imagery.”

Carolyn Little said: “I’m delighted that George’s photographs will stay in the city he loved and documented.”

As a painter, Swansea-born George Little chronicled the heavy industry of South Wales.

After his death, Mrs Little invited museum exhibitions officer Karl Morgan to view the photo archive.

Karl said: “The hundreds of negatives show that George was a fantastic photographer in addition to his skill as a painter.

“Last year we put on a popular exhibition that featured some of the images. We’ll continue to make them accessible to our visitors.”

The museum hosted an event, on October 26, that launched a new biography – George Little: The Ugly Lovely Landscape by art historian Peter Wakelin.

Mrs Little’s gift to the museum was announced at the same time. The gift includes large oil painting The Cockle Women of Penclawdd, completed in 1953. It complements the museum’s highly regarded collection relating to Penclawdd’s cockle industry.

Peter Wakelin said: “George brought a deep visual knowledge to a life’s work exploring the dramatic forms of industrial and urban decay.”

George Little: The Ugly Lovely Landscape, by Peter Wakelin, Parthian. www.bit.ly/ParthianULL