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Hackney museum reopens with ‘unique time capsule’ 1980s exhibition

PUBLISHED: 12:58 26 October 2020 | UPDATED: 13:40 26 October 2020

Hackney museum will launch its new exhibition featuring photographs from the 1980s on October 29.  Picture: Copyright Rio Cinema Archive

Hackney museum will launch its new exhibition featuring photographs from the 1980s on October 29. Picture: Copyright Rio Cinema Archive

Copyright Rio Cinema Archive

Hackney museum has reopened with a new exhibition showcasing young people’s photographs of Hackney in the 1980s.

Ridley Road Market in the 80s. Picture: Rio Cinema ArchiveRidley Road Market in the 80s. Picture: Rio Cinema Archive

The exhibition features photographs found in the basement of Rio Cinema in 2018 and will be officially launched by Mayor of Hackney, Phillip Glanville, with a special live-streamed event on October 29.

The snaps were linked back to a community collective called The Tape/Slide Project set up in the 1980s by the late Centerprise Bookshop.

The project gave young people photography equipment and they captured thousands of shots of Hackney, recently digitalised and restored by Stoke Newington photographer Alan Denney.

READ MORE: Radicalism of Hackney in the 80s captured in crowdfunded Rio Cinema book

The Rio Cinema's Tape/Slide Newsreel group helped give young people in the area a voice in the 80s. Picture: © Rio Cinema ArchiveThe Rio Cinema's Tape/Slide Newsreel group helped give young people in the area a voice in the 80s. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

The photographer said: “The exhibition takes you back to Hackney in the turbulent 1980s when Thatcher started dismantling the welfare state, hospitals were closing, trade unions were being silenced and the police were out of control.

“Thanks to the photographs taken at the time by a group of young unemployed locals, we can see how Hackney survived by resisting the Tory onslaught with determination, dignity and humour.”

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The unique collection explores everyday life in the borough and key social and political events of the decade.

The Rio Cinema in Dalston in the 80s. Picture: © Rio Cinema ArchiveThe Rio Cinema in Dalston in the 80s. Picture: © Rio Cinema Archive

Andrew Woodyatt, Marketing and Development Manager at Rio Cinema said: “This discovery has turned out to be a unique time capsule of Hackney life and cinema history. We want the archive to be used by the public and by schools as a unique educational tool and to inspire a new generation of reportage and photo journalism.”

The exhibition was due to launch earlier this year but was delayed after the coronavirus pandemic hit and the museum had to close.

New safety measures were introduced for the museum’s opening on October 13 and include a new booking system set up to stagger visitors and minimise crowds. Other measures include providing hand sanitiser, protective screens and a one-way system around the galleries.

Cllr Guy Nicholson, Cabinet Member for Planning, Business, Investment and Culture said: “After a frustrating delay brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, and after a lot of work by Hackney’s Museum team, we’re excited to be reopening Hackney Museum with this excellent new exhibition of photographs from Hackney in the 1980s led by local photographer Alan Denney.

“The extraordinary work is a timely and fitting reminder of Hackney’s roots in community spirit, diversity and creative activism.”

The event will be held online on Thursday 29 October, 6pm-7pm. Tickets are free. To book, visit Eventbrite by clicking here

Click here to find out more about the museum.

To buy a book featuring the photographs click here


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