Memories of rock ‘n’ roll’s golden age

Time and Tide's new exhibition called Halfway to Paradise features the photos by Harry Hammond and l

Time and Tide's new exhibition called Halfway to Paradise features the photos by Harry Hammond and local music memorabilia from Great Yarmouth's musical heyday.David Saunders looking at the photographs.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Summers in Great Yarmouth really rocked – and a new exhibition has all the evidence to prove it.

From autographs collected by eager fans, to spangly jackets, posters and programmes the town's Time and Time Museum is turning back the clock to the swinging sixties.

The exhibition which opens tomorrow (March 19) sees local memorabilia mingle with superstar snaps taken by music photographer Harry Hammond in the upstairs galleries.

Staff were this week busy hanging around 70 framed pictures said to document the era and the birth of rock and roll.

The exhibition, Halfway to Paradise, is being billed as a coup for the town, coming as it does from London's V&A Museum as part of a nationwide tour.

And alongside the acclaimed back-stage and performance photos capturing the likes of Cliff Richard, Cilla Black and Dusty Springfield is a wealth of local ephemera harking back to the town's golden age when packed summer programmes boasted a host of acts at multiple venues.

Exhibition curator Alison Fisher said it was one of the most fun exhibitions the museum had ever staged.

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As well as jogging memories for older folk there was plenty for younger ones with dress-up stations allowing them to hit the vintage vibe and become a Beatle or a Rockabilly, complete with quiff.

An appeal for local memories had drawn a wealth of material including dozens of autographs collected by David Saunders who would help bands with their equipment in return for a signature, and counts all the big names among his hoard.

Throughout the years he amassed an enviable autograph collection including The Who, Dusty Springfield, Cream, Van Morrison, Rod Stewart and plenty more. He remembers how much the famous stars enjoyed coming to Great Yarmouth, from Keith Moon playing boardwalk games and eating jellied eels on Britannia Pier to Billy Fury keeping a set of binoculars in his car to take advantage of the famous Norfolk birdwatching.

Contributions have also come from Hippodrome owner Peter Jay, whose chart-topping success with the Jaywalkers left bigger bands trailing.

However, one thing missing is any posters or tickets to do with the Beatles' legendary 1963 appearance at the ABC, although a facsimile sourced from an auction website is on display.

Mr Jay, who shared the bill with many of the greats described the exhibition as 'amazing'.

It was the first time some of his pictures had left his living room walls for 40 years he said, and some – including one of Ringo Starr sitting at his Jaywalkers drum kit – had only just come to light.

'It was crazy,' he said. 'We started before the Beatles and it was like an amateur business compared to how it is today with stadiums and sound engineers. You got in the back of a van, drove to a venue, did the gig, then came home again.

'I think the exhibition is fantastic and it helps to spread the word about the museum and reach new audiences. A lot of people still do not know about it.'

The exhibition runs until October 2, 10-4pm Monday to Friday and 12-4pm Saturday and Sunday. Entry is free with normal museum admission.

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