Sladers Yard was opened as an art gallery in 2006 by the husband and wife team, designer craftsman Petter Southall and curator and gallery director, Anna Powell.
Sladers Yard is a private art gallery dedicated to exhibiting and selling contemporary fine art, furniture designed and made by Petter Southall, and designer craft by leading artists, designers and makers. Sladers Yard presents a high quality changing programme of selling exhibitions throughout the year. We sell work on behalf of the artist, so customers know when you buy from us not only that the artwork is genuine but also that the money you spend directly supports some of the most talented artists and makers working today. Between exhibitions we continue to represent artists, often holding their work in stock and available to buy from this website. Where appropriate we arrange the commissioning of furniture and artworks made for the customer. Please see individual artist pages for more information or contact the gallery on firstname.lastname@example.org
Sladers Yard has become an influential and successful gallery in the South West with a strong reputation for representing and carrying forward the careers of well-established talent in fine art and crafts. The list of artists we represent is shaped with an eye to understatement, mystery and the wonders of the world around us.
Before Sladers Yard, Petter Southall ran the i tre Gallery on Pimlico Road, London SW1, where he showed his furniture with selected contemporary artists. However, the family home and Petter’s studio have always been in West Dorset less than five miles from West Bay harbour.
Sladers Yard was built in 1805 as a warehouse for Georgian merchants who were importing flax from Russia for the rope and twine trade in Bridport. Bridport’s textile industry is one of the oldest of any town in Britain. Significant orders for rope and cloth date back to 1211, including one in 1213 from King John to supply the navy, suggest there was already a well-established industry by that date. Later Bridport was given the royal charter for rope making.
The harbour was rebuilt in the 1750s encouraging an expansion of trade. By the time Sladers Yard was built, the western part of West Bay was busy building ships for the Napoleonic Wars and for the North Atlantic fishing fleet. Presumably they were also repairing ships. The ‘Samson’ pillars which support the weight of the upper floors at Sladers Yard are probably recycled ship’s masts.
Like many of the warehouses in West Bay, Sladers Yard had a central loading area and a manual pulley system. The arches at front and back would have allowed carts to be pulled right through the building for loading. The wooden pulley wheel still remains in the attic at Sladers Yard. Petter has restored it with hemp ropes to lift the furniture up to the first and second floors. The arched entry to George Street was blocked off in the 1990s to build amenities. It now houses one of the two kitchens for the café.
The building later became part of Gundry’s, the largest textile business in Bridport, and was used for storage. Nets were made on the first floor and writing on one of the walls still records one of the orders. At the end of the 1990s, the building was used as the headquarters for the television crew filming Harbour Lights, the BBC drama starring Nick Berry.
In converting the building into a contemporary art gallery and café, every care has been taken to preserve the character of the working building. Petter’s sympathetic addition of wooden panelling on the ground floor adds warmth and texture. Removing modern partitions on the first floor opened out a remarkable beautiful space in this atmospheric building allowing the long sight-line from stone-walled end to end, under the timber ceiling.
Sladers Yard Contemporary Art, Furniture & Craft Gallery, Licensed Café
West Bay Road, West Bay, Bridport DT6 4EL
By Car: From A35 at Bridport take West Bay Road at the Crown Inn roundabout. You will need to park in one of the numerous pay and display carparks all around West Bay. The gates to Sladers Yard are on West Bay Road straight over the mini roundabout, on the right just after George Street. If you come to the fishing tackle shop, Samways the fishmonger or the harbour you have passed us. Tel: 01308 459511
By Train: Trains run regularly from London Waterloo to Dorchester South on the Weymouth line from where you can take a taxi (approx. 30 mins) to Sladers Yard. If you are coming by bus, continue on the train to Weymouth as follows:
By Bus: Exit via Weymouth Rail Station Entrance. Walk 8 minutes to Kings Statue (Stop K6) where you can catch the X53 Jurassic Coaster for a scenic 55 minute bus-ride along the coast road to West Bay. Get out at the George Hotel and walk around the block, passing the harbour on your right, to West Bay Road. The gates to Sladers Yard are on your left just before George Street. (Tel 01308 459511)
Sladers Yard accepts bank transfers, cards, cheques and cash. For larger amounts cheques need to clear before we can release the artworks.
We are always happy to discuss payment plans including monthly payments for artworks. The gallery will hold the artwork for the customer until payment is complete. This arrangement has to be agreed with the artist on a case by case basis.
Here is a short film made by Watershed PR for Spirit of Bridport and funded by Dorset Chalk and Cheese to give you a taste of West Dorset.