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William E. Bowen (Billy) was born on 31st May 1929. His parents (my grandparents), Emlyn and Gwendoline Bowen were hairdressers in Glynneath for a number of years. Dad went to school in Glynneath and left to work in the family business at 15 years old, training as a barber. He married my mother, Mair Jones, on 6th December 1951; I was born in 1953, and my sister, Jean, followed in 1953.
When he was young, my father spent a lot of time with the Glynneath photographer, M. C. Chesterfield, and this is probably when his delight in photography was kindled. When Mr Chesterfield passed away, his photo collection was bequeathed to my father. After he married, Dad regularly attended the Camera Club in Neath, and also enrolled on a photography course in Barry in order to improve his skills.
His photographic collection reflects his interests as a member of the Glynneath Angling Society for many years, and also the Glynneath and Cwmgwrach Historical Society. Documenting and collecting photos relating to local villages was important to him, and his collection includes a number photographs taken by him during the last week of production at Rheola Factory, Glynneath in August 1981 – the largest collection of photographs taken by him of one particular event.

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