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The Pisshouse Pub

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    Portobello Road (The Piss House Pub was located on the corner of Portobello Road and Blenheim Crescent in the Notting Hill area of London., photographed)
    Blenheim Crescent (Photographed)

  • Date:

    1969 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Phillips, Charlie , born 1944 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.261-2011

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case SP, shelf 4

Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his local community, taking photographs with a Kodak Brownie camera he had been given by a black American serviceman. His photographs of people and places associated with Notting Hill depict both significant and everyday moments in the area’s history, particularly in relation to its growing black population. The local landmark of the ‘Pisshouse Pub’ on the corner of Blenheim Crescent and Portobello Road is a frequent setting in this visual history. At a time of racial hostility in Britain, Phillips created a record of multicultural community.

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips 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.

Physical description

A black and white photograph of a black man in a suit and porkpie hat leaning over an elderly white woman who is sat at a table in a pub, his arms on her shoulders. We cannot see the face of the man as he is turned kissing the head of the woman, who is wearing large glasses and smiling. She wears a leopard print fur coat and holds a half-drunk glass on the table in front of her.

Place of Origin

Portobello Road (The Piss House Pub was located on the corner of Portobello Road and Blenheim Crescent in the Notting Hill area of London., photographed)
Blenheim Crescent (Photographed)

Date

1969 (photographed)

Artist/maker

Phillips, Charlie , born 1944 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

Height: 193 mm image size, Width: 292 mm image size, Width: 305 mm paper size, Height: 255 mm paper size

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Charlie Phillips, 'The Pisshouse Pub', gelatin silver print, London, 1969

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Phillips, Charlie and Mike Phillips. Notting Hill in the Sixties. (London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, 1991) ISBN 0 85315 751 0

Labels and date

Text label for the exhibition, 'Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s
16 February – 24 May 2015

Charlie Phillips (born 1944)
Portobello Road, 1974
Westbourne Park Tube Station, 1967
Notting Hill Couple, 1967
The Pisshouse Pub, 1969
Big Maybelle, Cue Club, 1966
Cue Club Regulars, 1966

Phillips moved from Jamaica to Notting Hill in 1956.
This area of London had a large Caribbean community
following mass migration after the Second World War.
Phillips documented local life using a Kodak Brownie
camera that he had been given by an African-American
serviceman. His photographs provide a visual record of the
influence of the growing black population on this part of
London during the 1960s and ’70s.

Gelatin silver prints
Museum nos. E.260, 261, 264, 266 to 268-2011 [16/02/2015-24/05/2015]

Materials

Photographic paper

Techniques

Gelatin silver process; Photography

Subjects depicted

Woman; Glasses; Man; Pubs

Categories

Black History; African Diaspora; Photographs

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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