Dartmouth Park, 1977

In March 1977, the Clash released their seminal 7-inch single ‘White Riot’. The cover photograph featured the band wearing spray-painted boiler suits. The b-side was titled ‘1977’, where Joe Strummer howled:

‘In 1977
I hope I go to heaven
I too long on the dole
And I can’t work at all
Danger stranger
Ya’ better paint your face
No Elvis, Beatles, or the Rolling Stones’

In Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich, Jubilee Arts found themselves organising one of the first arts festivals in the borough, with the support of some Recreation & Amenities Officers (that’s what they were called back then). Some of them were wearing boiler suits, splattered with paint. This festival, after several editions and expansions, later morphed into a two-day council-led popular extravaganza, then to be known as The Sandwell Show. This first event was pretty low key with the usual scary clowns, jugglers and magicians, face-painting, dressing up games, sports competitions – including the much beloved ‘welly throwing’. The Express & Star offered a bus (who knows, maybe planting the idea for the mobile playbus to come). There were a few burger joints, hot dog stands and stalls run by tenants groups. It was a cold day in the year of the Queen’s Jubilee.

Jubilee Arts, incidentally, changed their letterhead this year to read:
Jubilee (Nothing to do with the Queen) Theatre and Community Arts Company Ltd.

Dartmouth Park, a Grade 2 listed park, recently underwent a £6 million restoration project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and BIG Lottery. Today, you will find a range of activities for all visitors at this Grade II listed park including a play area, ornamental lakes, gym equipment, floral displays, sensory garden and a community Pavilion with viewing tower. More information at: www.friendsofdartmouthpark.org.uk