Post-War Fashions 1940s to 1960s: a community curated exhibition
Fabulous Fifties Fashion
One Tuesday in September last year Scran went along to The Open Door in Morningside, Edinburgh to deliver a slideshow to showcase our digital archives. There is nothing unusual in this. Scran delivers a wide and varied remit of outreach activities. However, this session was the start of something quite exciting.
We had been invited to meet the Good Neighbours Club, a group of older people who meet regularly at The Open Door. The Open Door initiative has been supporting older people in Edinburgh for over 30 years, offering day services and a range of activities, from art and poetry to gentle exercise. The Club, a group made up largely of ladies aged 70 plus, meets every Tuesdays for a day of ‘friendship, fun and laughter’.
The slideshow of images of old Morningside, from the 19th century, through the early years of the 20thcentury, to more recent years provoked a lot of chat and debate. Of particular interest, old photographs of Morningside Railway Station which was closed in the 1960s; the Open Door is based in a building adjacent to the old station platform.
Scran was able to draw on a wealth of material from a range of contributors, including The Scotsman Publications Ltd and the National Collection of Aerial Photography. As well as the old station, we covered themes of schooldays, shopping and buses and trams.
Following our visit, Kirsteen Powell, Day Care Service Manager at the Open Door, got back in touch. She wanted to do more work with us and so we met and an idea formed. With such striking images causing such a lot of interest and reminiscence activity at the centre, why not put on an exhibition?
The Good Neighbours Club chose a theme with social history at its heart – fashions of the post-war era. And selected images will be displayed in the centre’s coffee shop, a great space fronting onto Morningside High Street.
The exhibition project kicked off in May of this year, with Scran delivering two more reminiscence workshops: we’ve explored the utility fashions and clothes rationing of the forties, the bouffants, brylcreme and big skirts of the fifties and the miniskirts and the sharp suits of the sixties. With the group’s permission, each workshop was recorded and a selection of their own personal anecdotes and memories in text form will be used to interpret the photographs selected for the final exhibition.
The project demonstrates the fantastic range of living memory material held within the digital archives of Scran and its potential as a tool for reminiscence work.
The exhibition opens in mid-July.
Images © Scottish Borders Council by kind permission of Woolmark | Licensor Scran