Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F , Case SP, Shelf 4

Big Maybelle, Cue Club

Photograph
1966 (photographed)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his Notting Hill community, taking photographs with a Kodak Brownie camera he had been given by a black American serviceman. His photographs have become a visual record of London in the 1960s, especially of the growing black population and its impact on local culture.

London’s music scene increasingly featured the American and Caribbean sounds of soul, funk, reggae and ska during the 1960s. A popular venue for all of these music types was the Cue Club in Paddington, one of the first black owned clubs, established in 1962 by Jamaican-born Wilbert Campbell. Better known as ‘Count Suckle’, Campbell had made his name working as a sound system operator, which involved leading a crew of DJs and MCs playing the latest records on a large custom built speaker system. The Cue Club allowed him to bring well known American soul and R&B acts to London, like the Tennessee singer Mabel Smith (1924-1972), better known as Big Maybelle.

The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. This selection includes a photograph of Count Suckle’s sound system rival, Duke Vin. Photographs by Dennis Morris of sound systems and basement clubs in the 1970s were also acquired. 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 TitleBig Maybelle, Q Club, 1966 (alternative title)
Materials and Techniques
gelatin silver print
Brief Description
Photograph by Charlie Phillips, 'Big Maybelle, Cue Club', gelatin silver print, London, 1966
Physical Description
A black and white photograph of a black woman wearing a sequin dress and long gloves singing into a microphone. She has her hands on her hips and her eyes closed. To her left there is a man playing a trumpet and another man playing a saxophone. Both of these men are wearing patterned shirts and have dark, curly hair with long side burns. There is a picture of a posed woman with long hair hung on the wall behind the woman singing. The right side of the image is slightly obscured, possibly by a person's hair.
Dimensions
  • Image size width: 239mm
  • Image size height: 209mm
Style
Gallery Label
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)
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
Charlie Phillips moved to London from Jamaica in 1956 and began to document life in his Notting Hill community, taking photographs with a Kodak Brownie camera he had been given by a black American serviceman. His photographs have become a visual record of London in the 1960s, especially of the growing black population and its impact on local culture.



London’s music scene increasingly featured the American and Caribbean sounds of soul, funk, reggae and ska during the 1960s. A popular venue for all of these music types was the Cue Club in Paddington, one of the first black owned clubs, established in 1962 by Jamaican-born Wilbert Campbell. Better known as ‘Count Suckle’, Campbell had made his name working as a sound system operator, which involved leading a crew of DJs and MCs playing the latest records on a large custom built speaker system. The Cue Club allowed him to bring well known American soul and R&B acts to London, like the Tennessee singer Mabel Smith (1924-1972), better known as Big Maybelle.



The V&A acquired ten photographs by Charlie Phillips as part of the Staying Power project. This selection includes a photograph of Count Suckle’s sound system rival, Duke Vin. Photographs by Dennis Morris of sound systems and basement clubs in the 1970s were also acquired. 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
Phillips, Charlie and Mike Phillips. Notting Hill in the Sixties. London: Lawrence & Wishart Ltd, 1991, ISBN 0 85315 751 0
Collection
Accession Number
E.268-2011

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record createdJuly 12, 2011
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