Local writer needs your memories of Arcadia’s ‘Fashion Generation’

Punks at the Port - around 1985 (pic from John Campbell)

Punks at the Port - around 1985 (pic from John Campbell)

It has been the ‘spiritual’ home to Teddy Boys, Mods, Rockers, punks and New Romantics and has now evolved into a mecca for yoga, art, crafts and good food.

The Arcadia building in Portrush has seen fashions fads and music themes come and go and now a special exhibition - Fashion Generation: A Retrospective of Fashion and Music - is being planned to capture the essence of that iconic building from the 1950s through to the 1980s.

Claire Savage

Claire Savage

Bushmills freelance writer Claire Savage has agreed to curate the exhibition which will run in tandem with the exciting fashion extravaganza ‘Cirque’ which will be staged in Barry’s on September 1st.

‘Cirque’ is being organised by local Miss Selfridge store manager Cindy McKendry in aid of three local charities - Women’s Aid, Samaritans and Cancer Fund for Children.

Claire explained: “Essentially, I was chatting with Cindy about Cirque for an article, so she knew about my journalism/creative writing background and asked if I’d curate the exhibition because of that.

“She wanted someone to tell the story of the fashion which featured in Portrush over the decades (1950s-80s), weaving this into the story of the Arcadia and Barry’s (where the fashion show will take place), as a prelude to Cirque.

1968 - Richardson family from Tobermore posing with friends outside the Arcadia

1968 - Richardson family from Tobermore posing with friends outside the Arcadia

“So the Fashion Generation exhibition is my take on that and will showcase the key elements of all of this.

“Obviously it won’t be a comprehensive history by any means, as that would be too huge a project, but it will be enough to give a taster and to take people down memory lane.”

Eager to support the local venture, Claire and her business Claire Savage Editorial got on board with the project which will open at the beginning of August and will run until the weekend of ‘Cirque’.

Claire is looking for people to share their stories, anecdotes, reminiscences, photos, poetry, posters and general memories of the Arcadia during these years. “It can just be a short quote, a line of memory of something that happened at the Arcadia, about the music, the fashion, the bands, the rollerskating,” she said.

Arcadia in 1984 - also from John Campbell

Arcadia in 1984 - also from John Campbell

“We have local artists getting involved too such as Big Telly Theatre who gathered lots of memories about the Arcadia as part of their Trade Secrets project. They are making up fantastic memory boxes which will be part of the exhibition.

“Causeway Museum, the Portrush Heritage Group and Barry’s are also joining in to provide information.

“Some local designers are offering their perspective on the Arcadia by designing mood boards and sketches of the fashion through the decades.”

In addition, DJ Alan Simpson is also providing the link from the music of the era to the fashion. Stephen Price will be taking a series of contemporary photographs of Barrys. Artist Dawn Cruttenden is busy at present drawing a series of illustrations about Barry’s and Portrush.

Anyone with memories or photos of the Arcadia they would like to share with Claire can email claire@cseditorial.co.uk or share them via the Chesters Beachcombers Revisited Facebook page.