The Boarding House

The Boarding House from David Campbell on Vimeo.

The Boarding House is a collaboration with photographer Peter Fryer to document aspects of the Yemeni community in South Shields, on the River Tyne, in the northeast of England.

When Ali Said opened his South Shields boarding house for Arab seamen in August 1909, he connected the northeast of England to colonial networks that ran from Europe through Suez to India and beyond. Over time these lodgings in the Holborn district of the town marked a transformation in the character of the region. Although the boarding houses are nearing the end of their life, the Yemeni community continues to be an integral part of South Shields and northeast England.

Peter has been photographing the Yemeni community in South Shields for the past ten years. The photographs in this video have been exhibited at the Side Gallery in Newcastle, The Customs House in South Shields, and The Hyal Sayeed Foundation in Taiz, Yemen. Future exhibitions are scheduled for the South Shields Museum, as well as galleries in Sana’a and Aden in Yemen.

I wrote the exhibition text for Peter’s show detailing the background to the boarding houses in South Shields. In October 2008, Peter and I began the process of producing a multimedia piece built around his still photographs. It was completed in January 2009 and shown at Chobi Mela V (the International Festival of Photography in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 30 January 2009), and was at the South Shields Museum between 7 February and 26 April 2009 as part of Peter’s latest show.

The Boarding House was licensed to Saudi Aramco World in November 2009, where it appears on-line as part of a larger article and gallery of photographs about the Yemeni community in South Shields.