New exhibitions celebrate Fairfield past and future


Fans of Fairfield Halls will be delighted by two new exhibitions celebrating the much-loved entertainment venue while it undergoes its £30 million refurbishment.

The Fairfield Collection and The Art of Fairfield open at the Museum of Croydon, Croydon Clocktower, Katharine Street from next week (23 May). A fascinating treasure-trove of memorabilia, The Fairfield Collection brings together archives and objects collected from Fairfield Halls when it closed for refurbishment last July. From programmes to props, the nostalgic collection showcases a range of items guaranteed to evoke memories and provide a window into the venue’s 54-year history – including a fascinating glimpse backstage.

Visitors can be transported back in time by listening to a fantastic and diverse range of oral histories, collected from individuals connected to the venue. Actors, staff, musicians, community groups and audience members all tell their stories and recall historic moments. Among them are official photographer Fraser Ashford, who snapped the stars that graced the venue in its heyday; renowned actor and former Croydon resident Martin Jarvis OBE; and a staff member who reveals what went on behind the scenes the night Fairfield hosted a live screening of Frank Bruno vs. Mike Tyson.  Excerpts are included in the exhibition and the full interviews will be accessioned into The Fairfield Collection and held permanently at the museum.

Other exhibition highlights include an Evening Standard Award given to Dame Peggy Ashcroft and the signature book signed initially by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, followed by many performers at the venue. On loan to the exhibition is a bronze entitled ‘Winged figure 2’ by John Farnham which is a model of the full sized bronze displayed on the forecourt of the Fairfield Halls from 1988.

Meanwhile, The Art of Fairfield exhibition showcases a selection of artwork formally on display at Fairfield Halls. Some of the paintings were from the borough’s historic collections, while others were purchased or presented to reflect the artistic programme and the civic and cultural life of Croydon. Fairfield Halls also created its own artwork in the form of designs for promotional material. The exhibition features works by Norman Partridge, Ken Head, Anne Murray, Jill Levick and the cartoonist JAK.

The exhibitions celebrate the outcomes of a project delivered in partnership between FAB Croydon and the Museum of Croydon.  They have worked with volunteers who were previously members of Fairfield’s corps of stewards. Heritage Lottery funding has supported work to list and organise the collections and train volunteers to collect oral histories.

Paula Murray, Creative Director for Croydon Council, said: “These collections will delight any fan of Fairfield and all those who have worked on this project have created a wonderful legacy. With this much-loved Croydon venue preparing to enter an exciting new chapter when it re-opens, transformed, in 2018, it’s fitting that we celebrate its rich past. Fairfield Halls has meant so many different things to different people – it always will be at its heart a community venue – this collection captures that perfectly.”

The Fairfield Collection is on display in the Croydon Now Gallery, Tuesday 16 May 2017 until Saturday 4 November 2017. The Art of Fairfield is on display in the Exhibition Gallery, Tuesday 23 May – Saturday 28 October 2017.

Source: Your Croydon