Punks, mods and rockers all celebrate Southend’s subcultures under one roof

Published Monday, 10th December 2018

Southend Subcultures in cut out newspaper lettering

A new exhibition exploring Southend’s subcultures is opening at the Beecroft Art Gallery this December. From the Southend punk scene to mods, rockers and beyond, the exhibition will explore subcultures both past and present.

Local people have loaned a fascinating collection of clothing, photographs and memorabilia that trace a 70 year history of subcultures in the town. Alongside the exhibits, oral historian Juliana Vandegrift has recorded interviews with local residents, and photographer, Katharine Fraser has captured Southend’s contemporary subcultural scene.

The exhibition also explores the venues that have been central to Southend’s subcultural story, such as The Studio Club for 1960s mods and Focus Youth Centre that held many punk gigs. Highlights of the exhibition include Teddy Boy drape suits, skinhead tonic suits and punk clothing from notorious shop, Nasty in Southend. Alongside this, original posters from Southend bands such as Anorexic Dread and Kronstadt Uprising are displayed, alongside photographs of subcultures around the town.

Councillor Lesley Salter, cabinet member for healthy communities and wellbeing said, “What could be more fun than to spend an afternoon reminiscing about a time when groups of people were breaking away from mainstream, through fashion, hairstyles, music and mind-set, and then following these subcultures on to those of today. Some of our borough’s most successful music, art and theatrical achievements have come from the subcultures on display in this exhibition.

“The exhibition very cleverly places defining pieces from one subculture, right next to those from another, showing us visually how inclusive Southend has been and indeed still is. It is a reminder for us to celebrate our differences and value the cultural work that continues to permeate from our subcultures. Please do visit the exhibition soon, or come along to one of the music nights, evening talks or workshops.”