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Issue:-24/25 February 2009

A Storey Of Photography

A storey of photography Liverpool photographer’s first solo exhibition reveals secrets and hidden iconic design of city store

A new exhibition featuring images taken in Liverpool’s oldest department store Lewis’s, opens this Friday at the National Conservation Centre.

It follows the announcement this week that the store is set to close in June for redevelopment. In a poignant turn of events, a contemporary fine art photography exhibition, Lewis’s Fifth Floor: A Department Story will open 26 February until 30 August 2010 documenting the current state of the store’s fifth floor of this Liverpool institution.

You are invited to send a reporter and photographer to preview the exhibition at 1430 hours this Thursday 25 February 2010 at the National Conservation Centre. Photographer Stephen King will be available for interview, along with some past Lewis’s employees who appear in the exhibition.

The first solo exhibition by Liverpool photographer Stephen King reflects his visits to the store’s ‘lost’ fifth floor, closed to the public for the last three decades. Its world of 1950s design has remained hidden since it was closed to the public in the early 1980s, being used as a storage floor ever since.

Stephen’s photographs record two aspects of the fifth floor, providing a rare glimpse of the spaces which originally comprised three restaurants and what was at one time the world’s largest hair salon, while also revealing the faces of 40 current and ex-employees.

National Museums Liverpool curator Nicky Lewis comments:- “Lewis’s is a household name in the city, and we hope this will be a popular exhibition with local visitors who wish to re-capture memories of the store and a bygone age, particularly in light of its impending closure. The exhibition will also be enjoyed by people who have a passion for history, interior decoration, photography and design. Stephen’s photography captures perfectly the unique aspects of the fifth floor, including specially commissioned artwork that put it at the forefront of interior design in its day. His portrait work with Lewis’s staff puts life back into the now deserted floor.”

Included in the exhibition are images of the cafeteria which once seated 600 people, with its Grade II listed unique hand-painted ceramic tile work still standing the test of time. Created by Carter’s of Poole, the 65 metre long mural is inspired by a mural at the 1951 Festival of Britain which celebrated the best of British design. The Lewis’s mural features condiments, utensils, vegetables and cutlery.

Other features typical of 1950s style were designed to inject vibrancy into the post-war years that saw Liverpool’s population, along with the rest of the UK, emerging from destruction and deprivation. The fifth floor flaunted bright colours and light.

Stephen King comments:- “The fifth floor is a great place for photography. However, the randomness that thirty years storage brought to the stylish 1950s and 70s interiors needed making sense of in some way. It became obvious that it was necessary to involve the people who had worked in these spaces to breathe life to the fifth floor once again with integrity. What started out as a purely documentary project now incorporated the new dimension of 40 portraits with ex-employees photographed in their original place of work. I tried to create a series of images that correctly translated both the glamorous and eerie atmospheres that make the fifth floor the strange place it is.”

Lewis’s Fifth Floor: A Department Story, is part of a wider project developed by Neutral Spoon, who also commissioned local artist Jacqueline Passmore to produce a film for the exhibition. Capturing the ghostly abandonment of the fifth floor through the use of old-fashioned cine-film footage of the floor as it is today, the film is overlaid with the voices of the participants recapturing their memories taken from hours of filmed interviews.

The exhibition reminds Merseysiders of their own stories of Lewis’s, but provides all viewers with a unique insight into the history of shopping culture. Stephen’s sympathetic approach to capturing his subjects not only immerses the visitor in the eerie emptiness of the floor but also evokes a feeling of joyful nostalgia and a longing for a time that once was.

Address:- National Conservation Centre Whitechapel, Liverpool | Admission:- FREE | Open:- 10am to 5pm every day | Information | 0151 478 4999 | Website:-


PEOPLE living in Liverpool are being urged to consider a career in social care as the national social care recruitment drive arrives in the city on Thursday, 25 February 2010.

A social care recruitment event will be in Liverpool from Thursday, 25 February 2010 to Saturday, 27 February 2010, to provide information about a wide range of rewarding jobs in social care that are available in the area now.

The event will give advice on finding social care jobs in the area, along with details on training and career progression opportunities, and information about what working in social care involves. Local ambassadors who work in the sector will
also be on hand to chat about their experiences.

Over 1.5 million people are employed across the adult social care sector in England, and as many as 200,000 jobs in the sector are expected to be advertised across the country in the coming year, based on existing trends.

The event coincides with new research which shows that more than 36 per cent of people in Liverpool would consider a career in social care. However, 42 per cent thought they lacked the right qualifications – in fact many of the roles available require no specific prior qualifications. The event will aim to address these misconceptions and raise awareness and understanding of the range of jobs within the sector, routes to entry and the possibility of on-the-job training.

Commenting on the event, Care Services Minister Phil Hope said:- “Social care is changing and more people are in need of support than ever before. It’s a really rewarding career with plenty of scope for training and progression, flexible working hours and the opportunity of further qualifications. I’d encourage anyone thinking about their career options to go along to the event and find out more.”

The recruitment event will be held in Liverpool on the following days:- Thursday, 25 February 2010, Friday, 26 February 2010 and Saturday 27 February 2010 at the St Johns Centre.

Or go to:- for further information.


MERSEYSIDE Police Detectives are appealing for witnesses following an attempted robbery at Merseyside News on County Road in Walton on Monday, 22 February 2010. The incident happened at around 6.30pm when what is believed to have been four men, whose faces were concealed, confronted the shop owner and threatened him to hand over a quantity of cash. The victim, a 32 year old man, refused to hand over the cash and received facial injuries following a kick to the head, which did not require hospital treatment. The offenders, who are described as wearing black clothing and black balaclavas, left the shop empty-handed. There were no customers in the shop at the time of the incident.  DI Neil Clark, of St Anne Street CID, said:- "We would urge anyone who might have any information about this incident to contact us. We take reports of all robberies, including attempted robbery, very seriously and we will not tolerate crime of this kind." Officers are appealing for anyone with information in relation to this incident or for anyone who might have seen anyone acting suspiciously in the area around this time to call Merseyside Police on:- 0151 777 4808, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on:- 0800 555 111.


MERSEYSIDE Police have confirm that James Taylor, aged 43, has been charged with two counts of possession of a class A drug (cocaine) with intent to supply, one count of possession of a class B drug with intent to supply (cannabis) and two counts of possession of a class C controlled drug, following joint working between Merseyside Police and the prison service. Taylor, who was employed as a prison officer at HMP Liverpool at the time of the alleged offences, is also charged with one count of misconduct while a holder of a public office. James Taylor is due to appear before Liverpool City Magistrates Court on Monday, 8 March 2010.

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