Bristol City Councils Plan to Close St Pauls Learning and Family Centre!


Bristol City Council plan to close St Pauls Learning and Family Centre after having been open for 10 years, this would also mean the closing or relocating of St Pauls Darkrooms! There is now a six week public consultation however with Christmas in a few weeks it is more like 3 weeks! There are budget consultation meetings next week, so if you would like to go and voice your opinion about the cuts and let George Ferguson know what you think of his ideas and of what St Pauls Centre means to you click here to book online or call 0117 903 6415.

Click here to sign the online petition!

For more information about the cuts click here and here.

And for a good song to listen to click here: Black Roots-Bristol Rock.

Here is some more info about St Pauls Darkrooms:

The St. Paul’s Darkrooms

Only a few years ago there were only two small public-access darkrooms in London, a further one in Darlington and ourselves at St. Paul’s, our being established early in 2005.

In the last 18 months to 2 years there has been a resurgence of interest in ‘wet’ photography with the result that there are now 14 darkrooms in London, plus others variously in Cambridge, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Birmingham. In Cornwall someone has set up a mobile darkroom in an old ‘bus to tour schools etc.

Most recently, Ilford Photo have opened a new processing laboratory in the United States while Ferrania of Italy have started to manufacture film again after a break of several years. Kodak, having once almost abandoned the manufacture of film and photographic paper, have just established a new company committed to continuing the production of film and paper in response to increased demand.

Here at St. Paul’s we have what must be the biggest and most extensively equipped public-access darkrooms in the country. We have a membership of 150, in addition to which we have casual users who use the darkrooms when passing through Bristol.

We have, over the years, established links with local schools and other groups with an educational remit to run courses and workshops in photography and several of the archaic and alternative photographic processes. Our workshops at St. Paul’s have attracted students from as far afield as Loughborough, Birmingham, Colchester, Guildford, Taunton and London. In addition to our own teaching, we provide a venue for other photographers to give their own workshops.

Quite incidentally, the processing of film and making of prints fulfil all of the requirements of the Adult Numeracy Curriculum and as such offer a perfect vehicle for teaching numeracy in a creative way.

In addition to our facilities and our teaching, the St. Paul’s Darkrooms are also active in promoting photography in the Bristol area, being a contributor to the Bristol Festival of Photography, as well as hosting other exhibitions.

We have also been the venue for the photography courses run by Bristol’s Adult Learning Service. We established a reputation for teaching such that many colleges would accept our students on to their courses knowing that they would be more than adequately prepared.

Many of our former students have progressed to Higher Diploma and Degree courses in Further and Higher Education, at City of Bristol College, The London College of Communication and the University of the West of England. Many are now successful freelance photographers both here and abroad.

This unique facility is now in danger of being lost due to council spending cuts.

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3 responses to “Bristol City Councils Plan to Close St Pauls Learning and Family Centre!

  1. I am one of the “passing through” users, what a fantastic facility and it would be a tragedy to lose it. Very best wishes, Robin Caddy.

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