She recollects her father regularly leaving Bryntowy with his fishing rod over one shoulder and his camera and tripod over the other, heading for the river bank and eventually his favourite place, Cerrig Tywi and the Doethie valley. It is obvious from his photographs that this is where he truly felt at home.
Tom being a businessman was a very resourceful person. At this time his family at Bryntowy had a small shop where they sold sweets and small food items. Many of his photographs showing views of Rhandirmwyn and the surrounding area were made into postcards and they were sold in the shop. In so doing he compiled a pictorial history of the landscape and people of the upper Tywi valley during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These postcards went all over the world, in particular America where many people from the Rhandirmwyn area, including his brother, emigrated and eventually settled.
Tom Lewis’ work has never had the recognition it deserves. Many of the old photographs you see today of the Nantymwyn lead mine and local scenery as well as the people can be, directly attributed to him. Many postcards produced by Tom are still in circulation and are, collected by enthusiasts. We hope that his inclusion on this website will go some way to give him the recognition he so richly deserves.
He died in 1950.
This page is dedicated to the late Monica Barnes who provided many of the photographs displayed on this website.
Tom Lewis, Bryntowy - Photographer (1878 -1950)
Thomas Wyndam Lewis was born at Bryntowy, Rhandirmwyn on the 13th December 1879 a son to William and Elizabeth. He spent his childhood in Rhandirmwyn and passed many hours on the river bank where he learnt to fish and it became one of his great passions.
At the age of 17 years Tom left his beloved village to find work. He initially went to Cardiff and started a vocation as a draper. There is no doubt he was successful and was soon, taken on by the larger stores at both Cardiff and Swansea as a buyer. It was at this time that Tom began to take great interest in photography. He attended night school and became very proficient.
He eventually moved to London where he had his own drapery business and on Christmas eve 1919 he married Joyce. She was a nurse from Fishguard, Pembrokeshire. She was very beautiful and appeared in many of Tom’s photographs, dressed in beautiful dresses and usually in a large brimmed hat. They had two daughters Monica and Myfanwy.
Tom never forgot his roots and often returned to Rhandirmwyn with his wife and daughters to visit his family. Monica recollects the long arduous journeys, sometimes 10 to 12 hours from London to Bryntowy in their bull nose Morris car, arriving sometimes in the dead of night. She says that it was worth every minute as Rhandirmwyn was such a magical place.