Fun Fifties, Swinging Sixties : Being Young in Abergavenny

15th May - 29th August 2010

These were years of great change, with the Fifties still experiencing rationing and shortages following the Second World War, contrasted with the mid 60s where everything changed, when teenagers got their own identity and opened up the generation gap.

Likewise, the 1950s and 1960s were times of contrast for the town of Abergavenny.  This period saw the destruction of much of the old town under the ‘Slum Clearance’ schemes.  At the time it was generally seen as a good thing, a chance to bring modernity to derelict areas.  However, a far sighted few saw the historical damage that was taking place and managed to save interesting architectural features.  This led to the opening of the Abergavenny Museum in 1959, where many of the salvaged artefacts can now be found.  However, more frivolous times were around the corner, most famously in 1963 when the Beatles performed at the Town Hall.  

Originally we were going to look at all aspects of life in the town during this period, however we quickly realised what a large topic we were taking on, so decided to focus on music, dance, fashion, cinema and television and Bailey Park Swimming Pool.  Visitors to the exhibition can see vintage clothes from our costume collection, original posters advertising the Town Hall dances, Beatles memorabilia and a collection of cinema posters from the era. 

The exhibition was inspired by the 50th anniversary celebration of the Museum in 2009.  In conjunction with this exhibition a ‘Listening Post’ has been installed thanks to the support of Abergavenny Local History Society.  On it you will find recordings by local people reminiscing about their memories of the Fifties and Sixties.  This is an ongoing project and we would like to add to these recordings.  If you would like to contribute please contact Rachael Rogers, Curator, on 01873 854282.  Alternatively leave your details at the museum when you come to visit the exhibition – we look forward to seeing you.