The Grown Up in Britain exhibition examines the changing face and motivations of teenager kicks

A new exhibit of photos captures the changing face of British teenage life.

The Grown Up in Britain exhibition examines the changing face and motivations of teenager kicks

A new exhibit of photos captures the changing face of British teenage life.

The exhibition is called Grown up in Britain: 100 years of Teenage Kicks. It includes photos like Tristan O'Neill's photo of clubbers at a nightclub in London, Bagley's in 1996 (above).

Lisa der Weduwe, Museum of Youth Culture: "I love the crowd energy of everybody together and the excitement." It has all the style elements."

The Museum of Youth Culture selected photos for the exhibit at the Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry. Der Weduwe said that they show that, while there are some differences in the experiences teenagers today, others are the same.

"I think they are telling us that while society has changed a lot, the reality is that teenage culture hasn’t."

1961: The Daily Mirror published a shock issue about teenage motorbike-riding rockers at the Ace Cafe in north west London.

Der Weduwe states that some headlines about young people and motorcycle kids are very similar to headlines about today's young people when you consider gang culture and such like.

Father Bill Shergold, a motorbike-loving priest, visited the cafe and decided that he would start a youth club called the 59 Club. People were shocked to see a vicar walking around with teenage criminals.

They were the moral panic of the time. These teenagers riding their bikes trying to reach 100 mph were on motorcycles. They were expelled from many youth spaces and banned from many places. He believed that these young people really needed his support.

Shirley Baker took this photo of a young man selling "Bad Earrings for Bad People" at Camden, north London in 1986.

Der Weduwe says, "These photos are beautiful and evocative. They show mostly teens and young people from the punk scene hanging out." This one is a street sale.

"I love the details, the old posters, the three PS1 pairs and the really unique set-up with the crates. This is a testament to the creativity of young people who have side hustles.

Tony Davis was a photographer of the Midlands rave scene in early 1990s. He also took pictures at Sandbach service station in early hours as ravers returned from Shelley's club in Stoke-on-Trent.

Der Weduwe explains that the Museum of Youth Culture was established in 2019 as there was no other archive collection that focuses on young people's experiences. It's a heritage at risk of disappearing and at risk being overlooked.

We hope these stories will inspire us to celebrate the incredible impact young people have on society.

Lucy McCarthy from Coventry also photographed the rave scene. But she is the subject in this portrait, which was taken when she turned 16.

"This is her bedroom, and it was more like a family photo," says der Weduwe. You can see that her bedroom wall is covered with photos of raves she was attending.

"Many of our photographers learned their craft by taking photos of their friends, things they are passionate about, and the nights they went to. It also has a personal, authentic story.

Teenage bedrooms are prominently featured in the exhibition. The gallery even rebuilt a bedroom.

This photo of Kirsty is part of a series that Michelle Sank took of young people in the Black Country's bedrooms in 2017.

Michelle Sank is interested in the period between childhood to adulthood when you are trying to find your self. It's full of excitement, exploration, and discovering new things. But it also comes with anxiety and trying to navigate those.

Babycakes Romero captured the reveling crowds outside his window during the 2017 Notting Hill Carnival.

Der Weduwe said that his photos always remind him of Renaissance paintings. They have an energy that is infectious. You can see the faces of everyone and how they interact. This is a moshpit during one of the DJs.

The museum worked with professional photographers and also requested that the public send in photos - they received 10,000 as people dug through their photo albums during lockdown.

Aiyush Panchnanda took the photo of Gracie T at the Colour Factory East London nightclub last year.

Der Weduwe stated that she hopes the exhibit will help young people realize that the present is not so different than the past.

"It's really powerful to be able connect with your grandparents and parents as a young adult today. To realize that they were teenagers too and probably didn't do as much good as you and probably had mixed emotions."

The Museum of Youth Culture's archive currently is based in London, but the Museum of Youth Culture plans to make it permanent in Birmingham by 2025.

From Friday, July 1, to Tuesday, February 12, 2023, the exhibition Grown Up in Britain will be on display at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry.

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