The faces and style of the Blitz Club in never-before-seen photographs

Blitz kids on show at Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards
Blitz kids on show at Lucy Bell Gallery in St Leonards

Lucy Bell Gallery will shortly showcase the first exhibition of unseen Blitz Club pictures by Terry Smith - a rare snap shot of a particular time in our cultural histroy when music and fashion collided flamboyantly.

The Blitz Kids were young people who frequented the weekly Blitz clubnight in London between 1979-80, and are credited with launching the New Romantic subcultural movement. Steve Strange and Rusty Egan hosted Tuesday nights and imposed a strict dress code.

Among core photographs are George O’Dowd, then a Blitz cloakroom attendant, who went on to become internationally famous as Boy George. The club was also a showcase for young fashion designers who set the trends in London during the 1980s, including Steven Jones, Kim Bowen, Fiona Dealey, Stephen Linard, John Galliano, Darla Jane Gilroy and Helen Robertson of PX. These rare images portray The Blitz club at its zenith featuring Steve Strange, Rusty Egan, Philip Sallon, Princess Julia and Martin Degville (later to be the frontman Sique Sique Sputnik) and many others.

Terry Smith was working for Time Magazine, when he went to visit Steve Strange at his flat in London: “I wanted to win his trust, as that was the way I approached all my assignments, to sit down and have a chat before I started taking pictures, and to tell him roughly what I wanted to achieve to see if he had any ideas. He was charming and engaging and obviously took to me, I was 35 at the time and so didn’t want to portray myself as at all cool, or give myself a ‘trendy guy’ persona, the main aim was to reassure him. In the 60s Time Magazine had run a cover and helped to coin the phrase ‘Swinging Sixties.’ They had a good reputation for intelligently spotting and writing about trends that were emerging, changing the cultural face of Britain. Steve would have understood this.”

The exhibition not only includes unseen images from the Blitz, but a series of images of some of the musicians part of the 80s music scene, including Sique Sique Sputnik, Eurythmics, Boy George, Fine Young Cannibals, all shot with Terry Smith’s unique humour and sympathetic eye.

The show opens at Lucy Bell Gallery in Norman Road, on June 7 - open Tue-Sat, 11-4pm.