Archive, Exhibitions

Stomping Ground: London subcultures in the 70s and 80s  

Main image: Punks on the Kings Road, 1981. All images © Dick Scott-Stewart Archive/Museum of London

A new photography display of the works of London-based photographer Dick Scott-Stewart shows the newly emergent youth and sexual subcultures of London in the late 1970s.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, New Romantics began to hang out at the Blitz club in Covent Garden, Rockabillies lined the pavements of Elephant and Castle, wrestling matches enlivened Battersea Arts Centre, punks scared the well-to-do passers by on the Kings Road.

In a new exhibition at the Museum of London, titled Stomping Grounds, life in London is reflected through its ‘scenes’ and subcultures.

Inside the Blitz Club, Covent Garden 1981, Dick Scott-Stewart. This image may be published free of charge if used to review or promote the exhibition 'Stomping Grounds: Photographs by Dick Scott-Stewart 27 May – 18 Sep 2016'. All uses must be credited © Dick Scott-Stewart Archive/Museum of London. Images may not be cropped or overlaid with text without permission. Images published on the web are limited to a maximum size of 600 pixels high. Uploading to social media channels is not permitted. All other uses must be cleared with the Museum of London and the copyright holder.

Inside the Blitz Club, Covent Garden 1981 © Dick Scott-Stewart.

Clubber at the Blitz Club , Covent Garden 1981 - Dick Scott-Stew

Despite being a freelance photographer for over 30 years, Richard Scott-Stewart’s work is relatively unknown. The exhibition brings to light 38 of his best personal photographs from the time.

Anna Sparham, curator of the show and Curator of Photographs at the Museum of London, said: “Dick Scott-Stewart was an accomplished professional photographer who mastered the challenges of black and white film image-making.

Wrestler, Battersea Town Hall, 1983 This image may be published free of charge if used to review or promote the exhibition 'Stomping Grounds 27 May - 16 September 2016’ All uses must be credited ‘© Dick Scott-Stewart Archive/Museum of London’. Images may not be cropped or overlaid with text without permission. Images published on the web are limited to a maximum size of 600 pixels high. Uploading to social media channels is not permitted. All other uses must be cleared with the Museum of London and the copyright holder.

Wrestler, Battersea Town Hall, 1983

Wrestler, Battersea Town Hall, 1983. Dick Scott-Stewart

“He held great respect for his subjects, recognising and identifying with people on the periphery

Mog Scott-Stewart, Dick’s wife, said: “Dick’s work is part of the bigger 18th and 19th century photographic project of humanising London and the people who live here.

West Ham football supporters 1976, Dick Scott-Stewart

Vicky Scott's Fantasy Photography, 1982

Vicky Scott’s Fantasy Photography, 1982

Drawing his inspiration from some of the great European and American black and white photographers, Scott-Stewart’s style demonstrated impressive skill involving high contrast and vivid use of light and dark to create his own distinctive style.

Reflecting on his photographs of youth subculture, Scott-Stewart said the subjects showed “a withdrawal from and opposition to the realities of the present, escaping…into their music, their dress style, their meeting places.”

Trans women, Pimlico, 1981. This image may be published free of charge if used to review or promote the exhibition 'Stomping Grounds: Photographs by Dick Scott-Stewart 27 May – 18 Sep 2016'. All uses must be credited © Dick Scott-Stewart Archive/Museum of London. Images may not be cropped or overlaid with text without permission. Images published on the web are limited to a maximum size of 600 pixels high. Uploading to social media channels is not permitted. All other uses must be cleared with the Museum of London and the copyright holder.

Trans women, Pimlico, 1981.

A group of young people dressed in 'New Romantic' fashion on the steps of the Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden, c.1980. The Blitz club is widely regarded as being the birth place of the New Romantics in the early 1980s and those who frequented it were known as 'Blitz Kids'. One of these was Boy George.

A group of young people dressed in ‘New Romantic’ fashion on the steps of the Blitz nightclub in Covent Garden, c.1980. The Blitz club is widely regarded as being the birth place of the New Romantics in the early 1980s and those who frequented it were known as ‘Blitz Kids’. One of these was Boy George.

During his photographic career, Scott-Stewart published a book Fairground Snaps, in 1974, exhibited nationally and internationally and had work feature regularly in leading newspapers and magazines.

Scott-Stewart died from cancer in 2002, aged just 54. He was photographing until the end.Punks on the Kings Road, 1981, Dick Scott-Stewart

Strip performers 1980-1983

Dick Scott-Stewart was born in the Cotswold village of Painswick in 1948, the son of a doctor and a nurse. He lived in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, where he was head boy at St Kenelm’s School, Cheltenham, later attending Epsom College in Surrey.

After moving to London he studied photography at the London College of Printing and worked as a freelance photographer thereafter. His work was published and exhibited internationally.

Jive Competition, Empire Ballroom 1983, Dick Scott-Stewart 'Laughing John' a Rockabilliy 1981, Dick Scott-Stewart

After his death in 2002, the Dick Scott-Stewart Archive was created, a permanent testimony to both the sweeping scope and the consistent consciousness of Scott-Stewart’s photographic eye.

Stomping Grounds: Photographs by Dick Scott-Stewart is exhibited from 27 May to 18 September, 2016. Free entry. More information is available on Scott-Stewart’s career here.