Britons Abroad: Women Visitors in Brittany, 1925

Fragments: A neatly arranged and annotated photograph album containing 128 original photographs and 48 printed post-cards. The photographs suggest a group of six young English women on a visit to Brittany in the early 1920s. They record the Breton towns which were visited and Bretons, mostly in national costumes, at work and pay. There are photographs of the six women, but all are undated and with only the first names of their subjects. It is thus impossible to identify the women, their places of origin in England, or the exact date of their journey. They stayed in hotels in the towns they visited, but these are also unidentified.

The album suggests that Brittany was within the circle of places visited by middle-class English families in the 1920s. Most ordinary people knew of Brittany only through the visits of the itinerant Breton onion-seller.

 

The album is important as evidence of a group of women traveling without male escorts. It may be that the beaches of Brittany escaped the taboos which faced gay men and lesbian women in England.

‘Bathing’
‘A picnic’
‘Pointe du Raz’

The photographs are also a rare record of Breton peasant life in the early 1920s. Brittany, lacking mineral resources, was largely untouched by industrial development. Its people were agricultural workers, fisherman, artisans in such traditional crafts as candle-making, or workers in sardine factories, street markets, honey farms, stud farms and hotels, guest-houses and cafes targeting tourists, many of them English.

‘The market’

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