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Press Release and Request for Exhibits

Lib Fox sends BtP this press release from the Focal Point Gallery at Southend Central Library (Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex SS2 6EX): /

‘Thames Delta’
7 April to 16 June 2012

‘Thames Delta’, curated by David Elvin and Focal Point Gallery, reflects the growth, variety and development of popular music by those groups and individuals that have grown up or lived in the Southend-on-Sea, Canvey Island and Basildon area since the late 1940s. The project will draw a time-line from the end of World War II and the opening of The Kursaal – Southend’s legendary amusement park, where Howard Baker and his band reigned for twenty-one years – to groups of the early twenty-first century such as These New Puritans and The Horrors. The project will put forward an audio-visual narrative of changing fashions in music, covering not only different performers, but the local venues that presented them. The town’s cinemas, theatres and hotels hosted the likes of Bo Diddley, The Rolling Stones, Louis Armstrong, Roy Orbison, The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers, while even a ship – sailing from Southend to Calais – became a mobile venue for rock ’n’ roll stars including The Shadows, Tony Sheridan, and Southend’s own Paramounts.

The main display at Beecroft Art Gallery will celebrate the vast array of musical success and talent that’s arisen from this small corner of Essex. Hit makers such as Procol Harum, Graham Bonney, Dr. Feelgood, Viv Stanshall, Yazoo and Depeche Mode. From musical stars Lee Mead and Denise Van Outen to international hit composers, Geoff Stevens and Mickey Jupp, to name just a few. 

Taking place at the Beecroft Art Gallery and Focal Point Gallery, the exhibition will bring together a wide range of media, from contemporary artworks by practitioners such as Mat Do, Rick Buckley and Scott King, to original archive material, including photographs, album sleeves, collages, posters and paintings, the latter of which includes a portrait of Dr Feelgood’s legendary front man Lee Brilleaux. Musical instruments and other relevant artefacts will also be displayed, such as a Greenop banjolele, manufactured at Norton Greenop’s banjo factory in Leigh-on-Sea, and Chris Copping’s original bass amp that went round the world with Procol Harum.

The exhibition’s audience will also be able to participate in this project, by donating to an ongoing historical archive or simply lending their own memorabilia for the duration of the show. The organisers are looking for unique photographs, objects and documentation, which may have lain dormant for years in attics across the country, to be loaned and given their chance to shine, so if you have any important artefacts, please let us know.

Intertwined with the exhibition will be live performances, held at various venues throughout the region. By combining memorabilia, contemporary art and live performance, ‘Thames Delta’ promises to be a celebration of the Southend area’s incredible contribution to musical history.

A publication will accompany the project containing images of the works and objects in the exhibition, as well as an essay by Elvin on his time spent with the celebrated singer / British eccentric, the Southend-born Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band creator Vivian Stanshall.

David Elvin studied at Southend School of Art with Vivian Stanshall in late 1950s, and later attended St Martin’s School of Art in the early 1960s. Elvin’s main professional work since leaving art school has been connected to television, motion pictures and animation, and he has worked on productions for Walt Disney, BBC, Martin Gates Productions, Halas and Batchelor, Fairwater Films, Bill Melendez, Ealing Animation, Rankin-Bass, ICA, Siriol, Burbank Films, Bob Godfrey Films, Maddocks Animation, Telemagination, Manga, Hanna-Barbera, and Cosgrove Hall.

One of Elvin’s contemporaries, Dame Helen Mirren, says of this project: ‘It’s truly amazing that so much musical talent has been produced (and is still produced) from the small corner of South East Essex where I grew up. It’s only fitting that this vast array of talent is celebrated in this exciting new exhibition. I wish “Thames Delta” every possible success.’

For further information, images on this exhibition or to suggest an original object to show in ‘Thames Delta’ please contact Lib Fox, Focal Point Gallery Exhibition and Marketing Officer: +44 (0)1702 534 108 /

‘Thames Delta’ is supported by Arts Council England and Southend-on-Sea Borough Council. 

More about the Thames Delta exhibition

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