Not currently on display at the V&A

Admiral Ken Sound System, Club Row, Shoreditch

Photograph
1974 (photographed), 2010 (printed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Dennis Morris moved to Britain from Jamaica in the early 1960s and began taking photographs from the age of eight. His personal photographs of British Caribbean community life in Hackney came to form the series Growing Up Black.

The series includes photographs that document London's sound system music scene in the 1970s. The sound system subculture first developed in Jamaica, as DJs rivalled to build the best speaker system offering the latest reggae and ska music for their performances. British Caribbean migrants brought the sound system concept to London in the 1960s, beginning at house parties known as 'Blues Dance' and later moving into clubs. 'Admiral Ken', in the foreground of this photograph, was a well known sound system operator, becoming the resident at the Bouncing Ball Club in Peckham during the 1970s. Morris has identified the man standing to the left of the van as 'the boxer Dennis Andries, who years later went on to become world light heavyweight champion.'

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Dennis Morris as part of the Staying Power project. Photographs by Charlie Phillips documenting people and places associated with London's early sound system music scene were also acquired as part of the project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Additional TitleGrowing Up Black (series title)
Materials and Techniques
Gelatin silver print
Brief Description
Photograph by Dennis Morris, 'Admiral Ken Sound System, Club Row, Shoreditch', from the series Growing Up Black, gelatin silver print, London, 1974, printed 2010
Physical Description
Black and white photograph of four black men standing around the back of a van parked on a street. The men are surrounded by amplifiers and loud-speakers. One loud-speaker is labelled: 'Admiral KEN International SOUND'. Two men stand in the back of the van while another sits on a speaker. Outside of the van, in the foreground to the right of the image, another man is standing wearing a blazer. Behind him there is a parked car and a block of flats with two signs attached to the walls: 'Club Row' and 'Clifton House'.
Dimensions
  • Image height: 45.5cm
  • Image width: 68.5cm
  • Paper size height: 66.0cm
  • Paper size width: 84.0cm
  • Mount size height: 68.0cm
  • Mount size width: 92.0cm
  • Plain black wood frame height: 746mm
  • Plain black wood frame width: 985mm
  • Plain black wood frame depth: 45mm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
(signed and titled on the reverse)
Credit line
Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Object history
The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Subjects depicted
Place Depicted
Summary
Dennis Morris moved to Britain from Jamaica in the early 1960s and began taking photographs from the age of eight. His personal photographs of British Caribbean community life in Hackney came to form the series Growing Up Black.



The series includes photographs that document London's sound system music scene in the 1970s. The sound system subculture first developed in Jamaica, as DJs rivalled to build the best speaker system offering the latest reggae and ska music for their performances. British Caribbean migrants brought the sound system concept to London in the 1960s, beginning at house parties known as 'Blues Dance' and later moving into clubs. 'Admiral Ken', in the foreground of this photograph, was a well known sound system operator, becoming the resident at the Bouncing Ball Club in Peckham during the 1970s. Morris has identified the man standing to the left of the van as 'the boxer Dennis Andries, who years later went on to become world light heavyweight champion.'



The V&A acquired ten photographs by Dennis Morris as part of the Staying Power project. Photographs by Charlie Phillips documenting people and places associated with London's early sound system music scene were also acquired as part of the project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic Reference
Morris, D. Growing Up Black (London: Autograph ABP, 2012), illustrated
Collection
Accession Number
E.1491-2010

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record createdFebruary 1, 2011
Record URL