Key Images

From the digital library of over 3,000 images, we have selected 50 photographs with a short explanatory text which offers some contextual background. This offers you a gateway to explore the collection.

Smethwick, 1991

‘My Mother, My Daughter, Myself’ was produced by Jubilee Arts as part of a programme of photographic projects called ‘The People’s Portrait of Sandwell’.

Great Bridge, 1977

Jubilee Theatre take a variety show round the pubs of Sandwell.

Noose Lane, 1986

In the mid-1980s, Jubilee Arts signed ‘agency agreements’ with both Dudley and Walsall Councils, aiming to expand youth arts work further across the Black Country boroughs and helping to develop new community artists and funding.

Rowley, 1981

Mike Peckmore campaigning for tenants in the Rowlye Hills.

Black Lake, 1990

In December 1992, quickly following the destruction of the Ayodhya mosque in Northern India by Hindu extremists, there were a series of attacks on Hindu places of worship in the UK. In the worst attack, the Shree Krishna Hindu temple in Black Lake, West Bromwich, was completely gutted by fire.

West Bromwich, 1982

The photograph here was taken on a bitter cold morning in February at the Public Works Depot, a site at the bottom of Sandwell Road where it was dead-ended by the Expressway, which itself looped around the town centre from Junction 1 of the M5 to Carters Green

Miners’ Strike, Yorkshire, 1984

It’s well after midnight. Teenager Peter Singh is working in a temporary darkroom set up in a store cupboard behind the stage of the Big K Social Club.

Tantany estate, West Bromwich, 1991

Tantany estate was West Bromwich’s first council housing development in the 1920s, built upon a disused colliery, the bulk of those pre-war houses still existing.

On the bus, 1983

Girls just wanna have fun, sang Cyndi Lauper in 1983, one of the biggest pop singles of that year.

Victoria Park, Smethwick, 1984

A fireshow for May Day attracts hundreds of participants and an audience of many thousands.

Location unknown, 1983

The Jubilee Bus would, at times, operate as a travelling art gallery, the sides offering a large scale empty canvas or display surface, the whole day spent painting and creating.

West Bromwich, 1983

The first bus worker, Kate Organ, attended a community arts conference in Newcastle in January 1979, coming back enthused with new ideas from this national networking event.

West Bromwich 1985

An exhibition of images from the archive shown locally in 2014 prompted one individual to get in touch.

Tipton, 1983

From the beginning of the year, the Bus stops off in Tipton town centre, collecting views, opinions and photographs.

Windmill Lane, Smethwick, 1982

From the beginning of the 80s, Jubilee undertook ‘themed’ playschemes across the borough of Sandwell  – Space Week, Horror Week, Rock’n’Roll Week and so on.

Tantany, 1981

For children watching reruns of Hammer Horror films on British TV in the late 70s, or the Saturday tea-time monsters of ‘Dr Who’, the idea of horror themed week held tremendous appeal.

Hateley Heath, 1981

Imperfect photographs hold magic, according to Heather Greenwood Davis, a Contributing Editor to National Geographic.

West Smethwick Park, 1986

This photograph is from the ‘Summer Celebrations’ activities Jubilee ran throughout the school holidays in Sandwell.

Farley Park, West Bromwich, circa 1978

There is a word for excessive fear of clowns: Coulrophobia. Do you suffer from it?

Oldbury, 1980

Working at Blackfriars Settlement in South London in the mid-1970s, photographer Paul Carter decided to hand out his cameras to children during holiday scheme.

Oldbury, 1980

A boy on a chopper bike in a street of terrace houses dead-ended by an old pit mound or  former ash heap, former industrial land with a coating of course grass.

Hateley Heath, 1987

This image shows Chris Jones running a recording session for Hateley Heath Community Association.

West Bromwich, 1985

By the mid 1980s, the fine art of shadow puppetry made its way onto the menu of activities of Jubilee Arts, and soon became a popular fixture at play days and community events.

Farley Lodge, Greets Green, 1979

In the late 1970s, Jubilee installed a silkscreen press in its base at Farley Park Lodge in Greets Green, West Bromwich

All Hallows Eve, Greets Green, 1983

The clocks have turned back, the nights draw in, the weather gets more miserable and it’s nearly time to dust off a VHS copy of John Carpenter’s slasher classic ‘Halloween’.

Friar Park, 1980

There’s a new show on – ‘Babes in the Wood’, performed by a group who call themselves the Friar Park Follies...

The Hawthorns, 1990

The multi-talented actor, director, writer, and producer, Orson Welles once wrote: ‘The camera is much more than a recording apparatus, it is a medium via which messages reach us from another world.’

Oldbury, 1980

Is there such a thing as the good old days? Longing for a time when things were easier, or perceived to be somehow better, less complicated or turbulent?

Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich, 1977

The first Play Day in West Bromwich, with Sandwell Play leaders and Jubilee Theatre.

Smethwick, 1980

The photographic material in the Jubilee Arts archive offers us a glimpse of the social history of the Black Country within living memory.

Oval Road, Tipton, 1980

Here we see a group of women from Oval Road, Tipton, alongside the Jubilee Bus, with food they have prepared for a celebratory party for children at the end of a playscheme week...

Brades Village, 1982

There used to be a large patch of empty ground behind the houses on Brades Rise, which overlooked both the Tividale recreation ground and the old factory complex of Brades,,,


Work with tenants on an anti-damp campaign.

Reservoir Road, 1980

It is unlikely that in the Black Country they had heard of the Great Wall of Los Angeles, a community mural begun in 1978 by Judy Baca, made with some 400 young people and artists.

Tales from Hill Top, 1989

This photograph, dating from the late 1940s or early 50s, is embossed with the mark of Morais’ Studio, who once could be found at 121 Orange Street, Kingston, Jamaica...

West Bromwich, 1988

Community artists collecting oral histories...

Oldbury, 1984

It is said break dancing started on the mean streets of Smethwick in late 1982.

West Bromwich,1974

A troupe of actors in funny costumes create mayhem amidst Christmas shoppers.

Dudley Town Hall, 1987

This image shows Pete Yates from Banner Theatre, working with video with young lads at a weekend youth festival organised by Jubilee.

Friar Park, 1981

A patch of land, bounded on the southern side by the straight line of the old Tame canal, on the eastern side by Walsall Road, the river Tame itself.

West Bromwich, 1990

This image was originally included in the exhibition ‘Sandwell in Black & White’ – which was at the time the UK’s largest photo show with 174 images.

Cradley Heath,1987

Each year, community celebrations reach out to different parts of Sandwell.

West Bromwich, 1979

Children’s marching jazz bands were a particular feature of the Black Country, often equipped with just kazoos and maces, a semblance of a uniform...

Smethwick, 1981

The power of an image sometimes lies in familiarity, reminding us of our past life, of a particular place and time long gone.

Albright School, 1982

The Government’s Microelectronics Education Programme ran from 1980 to 1986, exploring how computers could be used in schools in the UK.

Alfred Gunn House, 1980

Play and work with children and young people were both a significant part of the early work of community artists. One location for play and mural work in Sandwell was Alfred Gunn House in Langley...

Wollaston Estate, 1987

Society deems certain types of heritage to be of value, say an oak timbered merchant’s house managed by the National Trust, or an Iron Age earthen hill fort such as Maiden Castle in Dorset, or a miniature netsuke sculpture from 17th century Japan. Community artists in the 1970s and 1980s explored other values, such as folklore […]

West Bromwich, 1986

By 1985, Jubilee had acquired a second bus – an old British Leyland Titan, front engined with a rear platform.

The Wedding Day, 1991

Narinder Gill recalls: “This photograph transports me back instantly into a moment of time where I was the person sitting and experiencing a mix of emotions before my own wedding day.

Chinese Playground, 1980

The so-called Chinese playground In Smethwick became a key site for play activity for Jubilee.