Who was George Crudge ?

Collections - Posted 12-04-2021

And why is the Library blogging about him?

Ernest George Crudge arrived in the Tregaron area in about 1910. Why he came here is something of a mystery – in the 1911 census he was lodging with David James, Chapel Street, Tregaron. He was 24 and his occupation photographer. In 1912 he married Annie Hogan of Cardigan House, Pontrhydygroes. It is not known if they had met prior to his move to the district or subsequently as in the same census Annie Hogan was working in Aberdare. Their bilingual wedding service was held at Bwlchgwynt Calvinistic Methodist Chapel.

Whether George’s past history was known to his bride is not known. In June 1908 George had been under the influence of a dubious Mr Hoffman who operated, probably fraudulently, under the name F Lewis & Co , Photographers in Tottesdown, Bristol. It seems that on two occasions Crudge used a business card to dupe businesses into letting him hire a bicycle, promising to pay later. He didn’t and was sentenced to a month’s hard labour for “obtaining on June 15th from Percy Harold Taylor the sum of six shillings and sixpence by means of fraud other than false pretences.”

On his arrival in the district he set about earning a living as a photographer. Most of his works survive as real photographic postcards with a caption at the bottom in distinctive upper case white lettering, often featuring a date. The advantage of this format is that as many, or as few, of the desired photograph could be produced as necessary. The reverse of his cards are usually stamped “E. George Crudge, Pontrhydygroes” in purple ink. Crudge produced series of views of Pontrhydygroes, Cwmystwyth and Llanilar. He also photographed communal sheep shearing at farms in a wide area and seems to have dabbled with the idea of publishing printed postcards, though only of Tregaron. The couple seem to have moved from the area during WW1, though he was present when his brother William married Annie’s sister in September 1916, also in Ysbyty Ystwyth.

By 1939 George and Annie were living in Bristol. By this time he was employed in the aircraft industry and died in October 1944, Annie in 1956.
Although his tenure in this part of the world was short his small postcard sized photographs capture aspects of rural communities on whom change was about to be foisted. His posed groups of farmers and their families suggest he was readily accepted into the area. Sadly, none of his original negatives have come to light, unless of course you know differently!

W Troughton, April 2021.

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