An exceptionally engaging view of Aberdovey. It has much more of an intimate and lively feel to it than most vintage postcards, which are usually unnaturally empty of any signs of life. It is surprising how few vintage postcards show busy scenes with lots of people, apart from later beach scenes. I always wonder how the photographers managed to persuade people to stay out of camera shot. The Marie Celeste approach to postcard photography. This example, with women and children in the foreground, is particularly novel.
The building on the far left is the Dovey Inn, which was first built in 1729 by Athelstan Owen, of the Ynysymanegwyn estate in Tywyn (about which I have posted here), and will have been there throughout the lives of all these women. What I particularly like about this photograph is not only the impression of very focused activity, but the sense that these are confident women who are heading firmly towards, or from, a particular location. Given the smartly dressed children in the background and the men in the distance, I initially wondered if they were not heading away from church attendance. Still, if that were the case it seems odd that they were not in family units. Another postcard mystery!
The postcard was unused, so I don’t have a date, but in his book Picturesque Dyfi Valley, Gwyn Briwnant Jones shows the same photograph and it is post-marked 1921. I’m not an expert on early 20th Century fashion but that date is consistent with these outfits, a style popular in the pre-First World War years, probably in the 1910s. Skirts are long, but above the ankle, and hats are favoured.
The back of the card credits the postcard producer simply as “Gwilym Williams, Aberdovey.” If anyone knows something about him, please let me know because he is responsible for quite a few Aberdovey postcards and I have been unable to discover anything at all about him.