The Jubilee Arts Archive 1974-94

The Jubilee Arts Archive 1974-94 contains a substantial collection of negatives and slides – over 20,000 – conserved by Sandwell Archives, along with original exhibition prints, Super 8mm film, VHS video and miscellaneous print materials.

The photographs were taken by Jubilee Theatre and Community Arts Company, primarily as documentation of their projects in Sandwell and the Black Country, and sometimes further afield. They were made by both professional and amateur photographers, as well as community members.

A sample of these can be viewed on this site, along with written texts, film, oral history and other resources. Enjoy!

"In 1974 the first hand-held pocket calculators appeared in shops, and the bar code was introduced in Troy, Indiana. New Year’s Day was celebrated as a public holiday for the first time; there was the Three Day week and two general elections. Pink Floyd released ’Dark Side of the Moon’, Abba won the Eurovision Song Contest and the best selling 45 rpm single of the year was ‘Tiger Feet’ by Mud. Stephen King published his first novel ‘Carrie’ and at the cinema you could see ‘The Exorcist’ or ‘The Godfather Part II‘. The anarchic children's Saturday morning television show ‘Tiswas’, hosted by Chris Tarrant, began to be broadcast from Birmingham, while Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council came into being and a group of theatre students decided to found Jubilee Arts in West Bromwich."

Brendan Jackson

Explore Key Images

Here in the archive we find a complex portrait that reflects not just the specific locality but British society since the early 1970s.

It also records social movements, in terms of artists working with communities. Today, these images also provide a remarkable record of local people and places, offering a valuable historical document of political, cultural and social change.