BBC News

Bristol photo project to capture stories from pubs

image copyrightColin Moody

A street photographer and community activist are working together to capture stories from people who use their local pubs in Bristol.

Photojournalist Colin Moody and Annie McGann, from Save Bristol Nightlife, want "people to revisit the pub" because "once it's gone, it's gone".

They said "positive attention" was needed as so many pubs are "under pressure to close".

Licensed venues in the city centre have reduced by 20% since 2011, they said.

Figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), show that across the UK about 700 pubs have shut every year over the last decade.

image copyrightColin Moody
image captionAnnie McGann and Colin Moody said it "was time to focus on what these spaces have to offer the night-time economy"

Ms McGann and Mr Moody said they wanted to "chart the pubs that are real, amazing community hubs, some struggling, some with long traditions in diverse communities".

Kelly Allen from the Bedminster Ladies Darts League contacted Mr Moody when she heard about the project.

image copyrightColin Moody
image captionKelly Allen (first left) said "it's a brilliant way for cross-generational social time"

She said: "The Bedminster Ladies Darts League has been running for well over 50 years. My nan, mum, godmother, aunt and cousin have all been - or still are - part of the team.

"It keeps the proper pubs going and whilst the competition is friendly, having a team depend on you keeps you committed."

Garvan Hickey opened The Drapers Arms, on Gloucester Road, in 2015.

image copyrightColin Moody
image captionColin Moody said this photo showing "locals who love" The Drapers Arms showed it was a "real pub"

Mr Hickey said: "I read about micro-pubs which are small, mostly ex-shop units where you have limited hours, no music, no jukebox, no phones. It's all about beer and conversation.

"I thought that sounded like the kind of thing I thought I could live with, so we looked around and we found this old shop. It was a drapers shop for 100 years on the Gloucester Road."

Ms McGann said The Beaufort in York Road was a "sanctuary from the intensity of the crowded streets of St Pauls" during the carnival in July.

"Pop across to The Beaufort, away from the drum'n'bass and grime, and find the locals in a real Bristol Caribbean pub, where they're playing Frank Sinatra and 'old skool' reggae," she said.

image copyrightColin Moody
image captionDJ Foxy performs regularly at The Beaufort
image copyrightColin Moody
image captionAnnie McGann said: "This is Mal Sainsbury letting her hair down and dancing wildly in The Beaufort"

Ms McGann said: "Local pubs are an extension of people's living rooms".

When she asked an elderly regular what he would do, if a pub she was trying to save closed down, he said his marriage would have ended.

"He said if his wife hadn't been able to throw him out the house and send him up the pub now and again they'd have got divorced years ago," Ms McGann said.

image copyrightColin Moody
image captionColin Moody said being in the Barley Mow in Bedminster is "like you are in someone's front room"

The pair said their aim is to collect the stories and pictures "to save, protect and promote Bristol's nightlife and the culture, creativity and communities that go with it".

Related Topics

  • Photography
  • Pubs

More on this story

  • UK pub sector expands for first time in 10 years

  • Pub closures: What is the social cost to young people?