International Eisteddfod, Llangollen

After the Second World War (1939-1945) there was an interest in creating a new style of Welsh costume at Eisteddfodau and for Folk dancing. The costumes tended to be brighter, lighter and shorter and were made of new materials.

This co-insides with the first important publication on Welsh costume by Lois Blake (Welsh Folk Dance, 1948). Mrs Lois Blake was first president of the Welsh Folk Dance Society and her booklet included a section on team dress, European National dress and a very brief paragraph on Welsh dress (p. 18). The second edition, entitled Welsh Folk Dance and Costume, published in 1954, included a chapter on [Welsh] Folk Costume and refers to Lady Llanover’s postcard prints. This may well have been written to provide a much needed background for those hoping to compete in the Llangollen International Eisteddfod which was first held in 1947.

She emphasised that the outline and colour of the dance costume were important. ‘The silhouette should be clear cut and anything frilly or fussy should be avoided. Neatness of waistline, the hang of the skirt and the line of the neck, shoulders and arms are the important things to consider.’ She said that period costume was suitable for a pageant, but nothing should be allowed to distract from the dance and that both the Welsh hat and shawl were unsuitable for dancing. In the second edition she condemned the production of a Music Hall version of the traditional costume as offensive.

Lois Blake, Welsh Folk Dance, 1948 p. 18; Lois Blake, Welsh Folk Dance and Costume, 1954; another edition: Llangollen, 1965; Loïs Blake, Traditional Dance and Customs in Wales, (1972); Emma Lile, Dawnsio Gwerin Yng Nghymru / A Step in Time (1999).