Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Yesterday is Now History - materials from a Lewisham archive

I went to the opening of a fantastic exhibition today at 310 NX Road Gallery, New Cross SE14 6AF:

'Yesterday is Now History, curated by artist Eleanor Davies and anthropologist/historian Sophie Parker, is a celebration of the everyday objects that we frequently take for granted, or think of as rubbish. These often overlooked objects tell a story of the subtle cultural shifts that underlie historical change. 

The exhibition explores the history of Lewisham from the days of the foreign cattle market, the battle of Lewisham in 1977, the millennium, to the ongoing protest to save Lewisham’s hospital. The unlikely objects brought together in this exhibition prompt a discussion about the nature of archives, and their purpose and meaning in a society driven by mass consumption'.

Most of the material in the exhibition is drawn from the archive of Lewisham Local History Society, stored downstairs in New Cross Learning.

The exhibition is only open  

for a few days  -10- 4pm Thursday to Monday 23 June, but get along if you are at all interested in the history of the area, or more generally in the nature of archives and material culture.

The exhibition features some original paper and plastic bags from local shops - as they note, these 'transient objects' that survived their expected fate of being thrown away powerfully 'evoke specific moments in time '

W.G. Ward, 407a New Cross Road - 'High Class Confectioners and Tobacconist'

Princess 2 Hour Dry Cleaning, 26 Loampit Hill SE13 and 50 Broadway, Deptford
'We give green shield stamps' (1970s?)

There is also a display of 'entertainement ephemera',  flyers and posters for local cinemas, nightclubs and sporting events.

'A Grand Dance' on a Monday night with the Silver Star Band at the New Cross Palais de Danse 1927
 (later the Harp Club, now The Venue)

The Kerry Blues Showband at the Harp Club (1969?) - the Harp Club was then an Irish dancehall, now the Venue

Metrogas Amateur Sports Association swimming at Laurie Grove Baths in 1927 with instruction from Mr and Mrs Cyril Walker (the former baths are now art studios at Goldsmiths)
The exhibition also includes some material related to political movements, including original newspaper articles related to the anti-National Front 'Battle of Lewisham' (1977), the 1981 New Cross Fire and the recent campaign to Save Lewisham Hospital.

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