Punk exhibition comes to Sunderland to celebrate 40th anniversary

Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, who kick-started the UK punk explosion in 1976.

Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols, who kick-started the UK punk explosion in 1976.

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Sunderland is set to become the first city outside London to host a major exhibition celebrating the 40th anniversary of punk rock.

Punk 1976-78, a British Library exhibition, is set to go on show at Sunderland Museum, Library & Winter Gardens later this year.

Some of the original punk fanzines which will be on show in Sunderland.

Some of the original punk fanzines which will be on show in Sunderland.

Running from Saturday, December 3, until Sunday, February 26, 2017, it reveals the extraordinary impact punk had on music, journalism, politics, fashion and design across the UK.

It looks at how the phenomenon rapidly transformed Britain’s musical landscape, playing a pivotal role in the rise of the independent music scene and challenging the conventional image of women in rock bands.

Drawing on the British Library’s extensive archives, it features a range of rare fanzines, unique flyers, exclusive audio recordings and original record sleeves, many of which have never been on public display before this year.

Highlights include copies of the first punk fanzine Sniffin' Glue and the first and the only edition of the Sex Pistols’ fanzine Anarchy in the UK.

There are also original posters, gig tickets and flyers from the famous Roxy Club in London's Covent Garden, and clothing from the SEX boutique in the King's Road, run by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

John Peel’s personal copy of the Undertones' single, Teenage Kicks, will also be on show, along with a leather jacket belonging to The Damned drummer Rat Scabies.

Andy Linehan, curator of popular music collections at the British Library, said: “Forty years ago punk had a huge impact on many aspects of British culture, and continues to do so today.

"So we’re excited to have dedicated an exhibition to it, featuring music, film, magazines and fanzines, record sleeves and more.

There will be a number of fringe events organised by Sunderland Library Services, including screen printing T-shirts and album sleeves, songwriting sessions, fanzine sessions and links to associated music and bands.

Work will also involve partners Sunderland College and The University of Sunderland to engage fashion, music, journalism and history students in programme or as volunteers.

Sunderland City Council portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, Councillor John Kelly, said: “We’re really proud to be able to work with the British Library to bring this event to new audiences in Sunderland and the wider North East.

"We should take great pride in that we are the first city outside of London to host this fascinating and informative exhibition.

“I encourage everyone to go along and make the most of this opportunity to see the impact this particular style of music and lifestyle had on an entire generation.”