Mark Neville: Deeds Not Words

The Photographers' Gallery

2 August – 29 September 2013


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Photographs documenting the people of Corby's fight to indict the local council for negligent disposal of waste from the town's steel mills which closed in the 1980s.

Shot over 18 months, Mark Neville's social documentary project Deeds Not Words, looks at the environmental issues made public by the court case known as The Corby 16.

In 1998 Corby Borough Council was prosecuted for negligent management of the local steelworks sites. The case was brought to court by the families of 16 children born between 1985-98 with limb defects, believed to have been caused by harmful substances that were generated during the council's reclamation of the area.

Following an 11-year long legal battle which concluded in a High Court of Justice trial, the case was decided in favour of the families, yet many of the legal, medical and scientific findings remain unpublished.

Printed in 2011 as a book of photographs, scientific reports and testimonials, Deeds Not Words was used as an advocacy tool and sent to the 433 local council authorities in the UK and environmental agencies internationally.

Neville's aim was to examine the handling of toxic waste and the reuse of contaminated land.

This exhibition will be the first public display of these images, which include portraits of two of the young claimants.

They depict everyday scenes and activities in Corby, a town with a strong Scottish identity that is attempting to reestablish itself after the decline of its once-famous steelworks.

Deeds Not Words, the title for both the book and the display, is taken from Corby Borough Council's motto.

Don't miss

The exhibition includes a short film featuring interviews with some of those involved in the case, various environmentalists, as well as the artist.

Key images and information from the show will be reproduced on a limited number of double-sided posters and given away free to visitors.

Venue information

Opening times

Daily, 10am – 6pm (Thu until 8pm, Sun from 11.00am)

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