Underfall Yard is delighted to be taking part in the first ever Bristol Photo Festival this summer. From 18th of June until late summer, an outdoor exhibition will display a series of photographs of Bristol City Docks in the late 1970s by Jem Southam which provide a unique portrait of the harbour at a time of rapid change. One of Southam’s first major projects, the photographs were published in 1983 in The Floating Harbour: A landscape history of Bristol City Docks and the majority of the works will be exhibited for the first time.

The Bristol Photo Festival grew out of the success of Photo Book Bristol which was established in 2014 to connect national and international photographers to the city and it is hoped the festival will become an important fixture on Bristol’s cultural calendar. For the inaugural event, the Festival team are collaborating with a range of venues around the city to deliver a long-term programme of photographic exhibitions and parts of Underfall Yard will be transformed into an outdoor exhibition space.


Speaking about the upcoming exhibition, Andy King, until recently Curator of Industrial and Maritime History at Bristol Museums and an Underfall Yard Trustee, commented “most satisfying to me are those of the Underfall Yard, still active when Jem was at work, but showing signs of decline and disuse. The patent slipway lies rotting and weed bestrewn and the pump house looks under maintained and undervalued. Forty years later, following an extensive Lottery funded project, the Yard sparkles with new life and vigour. The Underfall Yard Trust is delighted to be able to host this highly relevant exhibition, to encourage debate about what has been, what we have now and what comes next in Bristol City Docks

Image credit: The Pumphouse, Underfall Yard,1979 © Jem Southam