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Punk returns to Leicester this summer in major new exhibition

‘Grannies’ by Wayne ‘Spike’ Large

THE PUBS, clubs and characters that were part of Leicester’s punk scene in the 1970s will be remembered in a new exhibition that opens in the city on Saturday (27 May).

Punk: Rage & Revolution tells the story of the rebellion, creative energy and political landscape that spawned the UK punk subculture – and the legacy it left behind.

Focusing on the key year of 1977 – when the Queen’s Silver Jubilee clashed with the punk explosion led by The Sex Pistols – the exhibition at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery will also examine earlier influences, as well as the post-punk era of New Wave and beyond.

The memories and memorabilia of those who were part of the punk scene, together with items such as Jamie Reid’s seven-metre mural and iconic clothing from Roger K Burton’s collection of Dame Vivienne Westwood punk-era designs, will bring the story to life.

Social history author Shaun Knapp, who’s part of the team behind the exhibition, said: “Punk was all about attitude, which in itself informed its ideology, be it fashion, art or music.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how the young people of today engage with the punks from the 1970s to interpret one of the most fascinating and influential youth subcultures this country has seen.”

Around 300 young people have been directly involved in the project, taking part in workshops, learning curating skills, and creating multimedia displays in what has been an ambitious 18-month intergenerational community project. Those who were part of the local punk scene have been involved too, with around 30 original Leicester punks recording their memories and loaning clothing and photographs to the exhibition.

Christina Wigmore from Soft Touch Arts said: “As well as having a nostalgic connection, which will appeal to people across age ranges and cultures, this project has been an opportunity for young people to explore activism through art, media, fashion and music.

“We are grateful to The National Lottery Heritage Fund and National Lottery players for making it possible.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Our museums play a vital role in capturing our shared history, and the 1970s were a decade of huge social and cultural change.

“This exhibition tells the story of punk in the words of those who were there and promises to be a fascinating and immersive experience, particularly for those who are old enough to remember the 1970s.”

Punk: Rage & Revolution opens at Leicester Museum & Art Gallery on Saturday 27 May and continues until Sunday 3 September. Admission is free.

Visitors are advised that the exhibition is not suitable for younger children and includes very strong language and content that some people may find offensive.

Punk: Rage & Revolution is presented by Soft Touch Arts, Arch Creative and Shaun Knapp and is supported by funding from National Lottery players via The National Lottery Heritage Fund, BID Leicester, Leicester City Council, PPL PRS and De Montfort University.

More information is available at



Picture credit: ‘Grannies’ by Wayne ‘Spike’ Large