Wallpaper exhibit shares stories and memories from Hackney Brocals

The Brocals exhibit at Hackney Museum

The Brocals exhibit at Hackney Museum - Credit: Ellie Doughty

A wallpaper exhibit based on the lockdown experiences of a Hackney social club is on display for Hackney Museum’s Collecting Covid archive.

Hackney Brocals, a social group for men over 50, worked with artist and wallpaper designer Angela Groundwater to create the exhibit.

Their last trip before lockdown to Chislehurst Caves, Kent in February 2020 became the inspiration for the custom wallpaper display called Out of the Man Cave.

The exhibit combines the wallpaper with testimonies written by Brocals members and "weaves together the men’s memories, histories and treasured possessions, to create a portrait of a year unlike any other".

The wallpaper design created by members of Brocals club and local artist Angela Groundwater

The wallpaper design created by members of Brocals club and local artist Angela Groundwater - Credit: Anne-Marie Payne

The club was set up by local resident Anne-Marie Payne in 2018, and aims to combat loneliness in older men through regular meet-ups, trips, activities and supportive relationships with volunteers.

During the pandemic however, the club had to meet online on Zoom instead of in-person. 

Payne said: "We got our volunteers to go and visit the Bros [Brocals] on their doorsteps and chat to them about what they did during lockdown. And then Angela combined their different objects and drawings of them into the wallpaper”.

The exhibit includes a written passage called ‘Hop-Picking Memories’, where John Payne, 68, shares that the worst part of lockdown for him was that he wasn’t able to do his weekly drive out to the hop fields down in Kent.

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“It’s a different world down there,” he shared in the piece.

The group has resumed in-person activities and had plans to go to the Walthamstow Wetlands in November.

The project, which also offers free minibus driver training, relies on volunteers and is managed by City and Hackney Carers Centre 

The group meets on Mondays at 2pm at Well Space community hub on Well Street. 

The Out of the Man Cave exhibit will remain open at Hackney Museum until February 2022.

Learn more about Hackney Brocals at www.brocals.org

Find out more about Hackney Museum at hackney-museum.hackney.gov.uk


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