Punk 1976-1978 Proves To Be A Huge Hit In The City of Sunderland

With the PUNK 1976-1978, a British Library Exhibition at the Sunderland Winter Gardens & Museum coming to a close in less than a weeks time. We went back to the exhibition to talk to Julie Boad who is the local history manager there, to see just how inspiring the Punk Exhibition has been to the Sunderland public.

The inspiration behind the exhibition came from a member if staff who Julie works with, who saw the exhibition in London at the British Library when it was on show for six months last year.

“Everything we have here was at the London exhibition but differently laid out.”

“The exhibition holds links with Sunderland. Punk was a huge thing here in the 70s and 80s. There were many famous punk bands formed in Sunderland such as Red Alert and Red London.”

Since the opening on December 3, 2016, the exhibition has been a huge success for the Museum.

Julie adds: “Last week when I checked, out visitor count was up to around 7800. In the past two days, with it being the school holidays I have noticed that we have had more than 400 visitors.”

The exhibition was officially opened on December 2, 2016 by local fashion designer Gareth Pugh.

Along with the main exhibition, they hold a pop up shop that features work from two different local artists such as Charlotte Clark and Emma Ford from Big Daisy Kiss.

“We personally liked all of their products and it is really important to support local businesses than trying to buy something national. All products that they stock are handmade.”

The exhibition holds a variety of pieces from the 76-78 era. From fashion garments, interactive interviews and music vinyls. Julie, who has worked for the Library Services for the past five years, talks us through the most popular pieces to the members of the public.

“We have an original leather jacket from Rat Scabies (former drummer of The Damned) from 1976.

He donated the jacket to Lewis Leathers along with a letter (which the Punk Exhibition also have on display) which they then donated it to the British Museum.

It is such an eye catching item to have and people are immediately drawn to it.”

“Another most popular section is our Vivienne Westwood collection when she had her shop called SEX which she opened with Malcolm McLaren in 1974.

They started off doing t-shirts and they put provocative designs on them, but today she is a huge designer.”

A final piece that proves popular with all of the visitors is the large display at the back of the room.

“The 100 singles you see are original single covers from the time. It has various artists from that era. Some of it is hardcore punk and some of it is soft punk such as The Police.”

Other vinyls they have on display are The Clash, The Sex Pistols and The Jam.

Next to the record display, you can select to listen to all of the 100 records.

With the exhibition closing in under a weeks time, we asked Julie about the future of the exhibition and plans for other exhibitions at the Museum.

“We would love to continue the exhibition and hold more similar exhibitions in the future.

The exhibiton will be going back to London to be displayed.

We are hoping to get involved with the local punk scene such as a get together with peoples own memorabilia from the 70s/80s.”

Towards the exit of the exhibition there was a visitors comments book. Here are a few of Julie’s and SAINTs favourite responses from the public.

“The exhibition was very interesting. I loved the punk music and fashion. Rock on man!”

“Fantastic exhibition and very well curated. Great to see stuff like this in Sunderland.”

“Punk is not dead yet.”

“An absolute treat! A nostalgic journey through the late 70s. The Rat Scabies jacket refreshes my memory of how it all was.”

You can catch the exhibition until 26.2.17 at Sunderland Winter Gardens and Museum between 10am-4pm.

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