In pictures: Memories of Tiger Bay go on display in Butetown

July 8, 2011 No Comments »
In pictures: Memories of Tiger Bay go on display in Butetown

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Photographs offering a rare insight into the one of Britain’s earliest multi-cultural communities have gone on display in Cardiff.

Tiger Bay in Cardiff’s docklands – and the people at the heart of it are depicted in a series of atmospheric black and white shots taken in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

The snaps were taken by brothers Simon and Anthony Campbell, who wanted to show the people behind the well-documented migration and coal industry in the docklands.

View a slideshow of the images

And the photos have spent their first week showcased to the public at an exhibition in the newly-refurbished Butetown History and Arts Centre.

Most images show everyday scenes.

In among them are men known as “Brown” and “Puggie” posing for the camera at a wedding reception in the former Dowlais Club, West Bute Street in 1984.

There are also pictures of men playing pool in the paddle steamer pub in 1985 and Tony Thompson winning the father’s race at Butetown Primary School’s sports day in 1991.

Others show the musical spirit of Tiger Bay – where Dame Shirley Bassey grew up.

Anthony, 56, used to take pictures of audiences at gigs and one shows friends “Dickie” and “Ozzy” with accompanying women at the Talk of the Town Club, Bute Street, in 1976.

Most of the people in the photos were Simon and Anthony’s friends and Simon remembers it as a happy time.

Simon, 55, said: “It was happy times growing up in the bay.

“It was different as you started to move out of the bay and going to secondary school because in the bay you were quite insulated.

“There was more of a community – people depended on each other.

“Usually when there was something going on in the community you would attend, like the sports day thing.”

The exhibition was opened last weekend and has received a positive reaction from people already.

Simon says the three decades in which the pictures come from saw the whole area of what was formerly known as Cardiff Bay change.

“Basically Butetown has been under development for 40 years,” he said.

“There have been so many changes – not just buildings – but people as well.

“Before where there was a lot of other cultures, now it is like the balance has changed with a big influx of Somalis.

“There has been a good reaction to the exhibition in its first week. People like to reminisce. It always seems better when you are looking back I suppose.”

The Butetown History and Arts Centre, which promotes work from ethnic communities, commissioned the exhibition ahead of its 25th anniversary next year

Dr Glenn Jordan, one of the exhibition’s Directors, said: “I first came in 1984 and Simon actually met me on my very first night in Butetown. I had only been in Butetown for a few hours when I met him.

“It is interesting because it is after Butetown has been redeveloped after 1960s. It shows people readjusted to community life after the whole place had been knocked down.

“No photographic exhibition can be totally representative of the community but this privileges more the afro-caribbean bit of Butetown.

“One of the interesting things about the photographs is it shows the community alive at a time people thought it had died.”

Have you been to the exhibition? What did you think? Let us know your comments below

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