Shining a light on Kingston’s cultural heritage

Shining a light on Kingston’s cultural heritage

Creative Youth have set up a Heritage Trail to celebrate the rich and diverse art, music and fashion history of Kingston.

Image: AMP Kingston Trail 2024 (c) Creative Youth. Photo by Ahlam Ahmadi.

Throughout the 60s to the 90s, Kingston was a large part of the diverse and shifting cultural tapestry of London and the UK, with some of the world’s most famous bands gracing the stages of Kingston’s local pubs. Famously, David Bowie unveiled his iconic ‘Ziggy Stardust’ persona at the Toby Jug pub in Tolworth in February 1972.

Kingston School of Art produced major players in art, fashion and music, including world-renowned rock and blues guitarist Eric Clapton. The fashion school played a prominent role in the emergence of London style in the global fashion scene: in 1966 the School of Art’s fashion students won first prize at the St Gall Fashion Awards – a first for the UK, which symbolised the emergence of the ‘London look’ as the signature style of the time, rather than the European fashions which had previously dominated.

Titled ‘Art, Music, Pop, Fashion 1960s-1990s and beyond,” the Heritage Trail intends to pay homage to such significant moments in Kingston’s cultural history. The trail includes a variety of museums and galleries, from Kingston Museum, where you can see vinyl recording of David Bowie performing at Kingston Polytechnic, to the Stanley Picker Gallery. You can also stop off at Dorich House, which for a period of time in the early 90s became the centre of Kingston’s underground rave scene.

Also on the trail is the Rose Theatre, the seat of Kingston’s thriving theatrical culture, where you can see the timeline of key moments from the 60s to the 90s, and listen to oral testimonies. You can then head to FUSEBOX, the new multi-arts space set up by Creative Youth, where you can watch their inventive ‘Gogglebox’ film, documenting the reactions of young viewers to historically ground-breaking musical performances.

AMP Kingston Trail 2024 (c) Creative Youth. Photos by Ahlam Ahmadi.

That is not to forget the numerous grassroots live music venues that played an integral part in Kingston’s iconic music moments and are also featuring as stops along the trail. This includes multiple pubs which function as beloved local gig venues: The Grey Horse, The Fighting Cocks and The Lamb Surbiton. Be sure to stop by and pay them a visit.

AMP Kingston is a National Lottery Heritage Fund supported project set up by Creative Youth to explore and celebrate Kingston’s cultural heritage. Focusing on the themes of art, music, pop and fashion, the project aims to shine a light on Kingston’s rich artistic legacy and serve as inspiration for the young artists of today.