In the 18th century my home town of Merthyr Tydfil was the biggest town in Wales and held the largest ironworks in the world. One of the Ironmaster families built an area of the town for their workers called Georgetown. In the 1960s a huge programme of redevelopment began in the town and by 1970 it was the turn of Georgetown for demolition & redevelopment. In 1971 I began a photographic project to record the area. I continued during demolition until 1974 despite having moved to London by that time.
In London I used to help out hanging exhibitions at the Half Moon Gallery in Whitechapel. The Director, Ron McCormick, saw my Georgetown photographs and offered me an exhibition there in January 1974. It was favourably reviewed by Euan Duff in The Guardian and I was delighted when Roger Mayne bought several prints.
Now, 50 years on, I approached the authorities in Merthyr to hold an exhibition of these photographs. They agreed to hold an exhibition in The Redhouse Arts Centre during the whole of September and October 2023. - Howard Denner
Café Royal Books, established in 2005, is a small family-run publisher based in England, focussing on documentary photography linked to Britain and Ireland, printed and bound locally by a small 170 year old printing company. In 2022 Café Royal Books received the Royal Photographic Society Award for Photographic Publishing.