Welcome to The Deep End.

The Deep End LogoA major new installation of common sense.

Bristol North Baths – Gloucester Road, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8BN

Open daily, 2-9PM until 20th May.

1912 was a year of architectural and engineering marvels. It was a time of hope, ambition and belief in man’s power over the world. The ‘unsinkable’ Titanic was launched, made its initial journey to New York, failed quite dramatically and ensured its place in history. Also that year, Bristol North Baths opened and was almost immediately commandeered for the war effort.

One hundred years later, the ship lies at the bottom of the sea: the building, after decades of service, stands empty. In the next few weeks, however, work will commence on the restoration and rebirth of the more local landmark.

To celebrate this, for the next few weeks a major new installation of art and common sense is happening in Bristol North Baths on Gloucester Road showcasing the creativity and ingenuity of Bristol today.

On Saturday May 5th, 2012, at 2pm Bristol North Baths will open its doors to the public for the first time in 7 years with a fully immersive exhibition, “The Deep End”, featuring some of the city’s best artists.

Your presence would be most welcome.

Edwardian engineering was built to last: Come and admire this majestic 100 year old building, coupled with some of the most vibrant art coming out of Bristol today.

When we learn from the past and add the best from the present, then together we create a better future.

This is your last chance to see this impressive piece of Edwardian civic architecture, until the development is complete.

Open daily, 2-9PM until 20th May.

In addition to the general exhibition, The Deep End will also be holding a number of one off events over the coming weeks. Keep an eye out here for updated information, or use the subscribe link on the right to be sent updates as they are announced. You can also keep up to date with events via Twitter and Facebook.


MCA Tribute Night – 9th May 5PM – 11PM

Fashion Splash – Fashion Show – 12th May 2PM – 10PM

Mystery Film night – 19th May – 8:30PM – come and celebrate the end of the project with us at a mystery film showing. How often do you get to watch a film in an edwardian swimming pool?


The Deep End Logo ArtspaceLifespace Logo  Bristol City Council Logo  Chatsworth Homes Logo

The Deep End is an independent project made possible by ArtSpace LifeSpace, an artist led initiative that recycles vacant, under-used and problem properties into thriving active creative resources.

The project has also been made possible with support from Bristol City Council and Chatsworth Homes, who will be displaying their plans to convert the Bristol North Baths into the new Bishopston Community Health Centre and Library at the exhibition.

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Artists at work

We chatted to a couple of the artists who are exhibiting at the baths this week, about their work.

Jef Row

A stencil painting with the words 'no heavy petting' above a picture of a brown envelope of cash being passed from one hand to another.Jef is a stencil artist, who’s been working in Bristol since 1997. ‘I was working the dark streets of Bristol at the same time as Banksy, but I never bumped into him, that I know of. Like a lot of people in Bristol, I do have a heartbreaking Banksy story of not buying a painting for £200 when I had the chance…’

Jef’s work is consciously political. He says he has so little time to paint (he also works as a plumber, and has seven kids…) that he can’t justify the time to do work that doesn’t having a real meaning.

A monochrome and gold impressionistic painting of Millennium Square in Bristol, incorporating images of slavery and commerce.

Jef has two works in the exhibition. One is a stencil which is a site-specific piece for the baths, based on the ‘no heavy petting’ signs they used to have in swimming pools.

The other is a collaboration with fellow artist Andy Stott – a painting of Millennium Square in Bristol, showing slave ships and sugar-cane. This piece is their commentary on ‘Bristol’s dark past’, and the fortunes built on human misery.

You can see more of Jef’s work on his facebook page.

Liz Buckfield

Liz has a lot of work in the exhibition, including paintings, letters which she’s re-purposed, and a quirky installation which is a sculpture of two teenagers sitting in the stands. A lot of visitors do a double take when they realise the sculpture isn’t actually real people. It makes people laugh.

But it’s the re-purposed paperwork which has been getting the strongest response for visitors. One described the work as ‘incredibly brave’.

Liz has taken personal letters and paperwork – from payslips, to arrest sheets, to medical appointments – and drawn on them. The drawings, often intricate and beautiful, are her commentary on the letters themselves.

A compulsive doodler, Liz started drawing on letters she got – ‘Just the interesting ones’ – and after a while realised she had so many it was a project in the making. She thinks people respond to her work because everyone – especially in the UK – has these kind of letters and paperwork. The project is partly a critique of modern life and a commentary on bureaucracy, and partly an attempt to be unflinchingly honest in her work. “I don’t think you should hide it, just because you are personally embarrassed by it.”

You can hear Liz talking about her art below, or see more of Liz’s work on her facebook page.

Come down and see Jef and Liz’s work – and that of dozens of other great Bristol artists – for yourself before the exhibition closes this Sunday 20th May. We’re open every day, 2-9pm.

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What are your memories of Bristol North Baths?

Did you used to come to Bristol North Baths? Were the changing rooms too small, the gents’ toilet freezing, the sound at swimming galas deafening? Please tell us about it!

We’ve been talking to people visiting the exhibition and hearing their memories of the baths when they were open. People remember them very fondly – although a scary number of people seem to have almost drowned here…

Here’s some short clips of people’s stories. Including Bristol-based megastar Geoff Barrow, of Portishead, who’s Granddad built much of the woodwork in the baths – who’d have guessed it?

Did you learn to swim here? Or ever have a birthday party at the baths, with the crazy inflatables? Or are you an internationally famous pop star with a family connection to the baths?

We’d like to hear your stories either way:-). If you’ve got memories you’d like to share, please add them in the comments below. Or even better, come in and see us, and relive those memories.

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How you can help…

How YOU can get involved with The Deep End…

We don’t have many resources ourselves and are relying on word spreading for people to find out about us, so we would really appreciate some help in putting the word out.

Please share our facebook page with your friends, invite them to our events on facebook, tweet about us, and blog about us! If you have a printer and a little bit of time we would also really appreciate it if you could print a few posters out and put them around the area to help us publicise what we’re doing.

We would love to hear your thoughts on the deep end, memories of the Baths, ideas for projects, and we have spaces for more art and performance too. Don’t hesitate to get in contact.


By thedeependbristol Posted in News