We discover punk pioneer

As we get closer to our exhibition of David Chadwick’s images of Manchester night spots in the early 1980s, we’re excited to have tracked down one of the most striking people in his iconic ‘punks’ picture. The photograph was taken at Belle Vue’s renowned Mayflower Club, which hosted a plethora of punk nights and gigs (including for under 18s in the afternoons) until it burned down in the early 80s.

Karen Bentley, from Urmston, is the lady with blonde, spikey hair on the right of the David’s picture, and came forward after a friend spotted our appeal on Facebook. She was a regular at the Mayflower and attended gigs by punk and post-punk greats including The Damned, The Clash, Adam and the Ants and Sham 69. She and her pals also adopted a pub in Ancoats as its base, though they weren’t welcomed by the local ‘Perry boys’; but Karen was determined to stick to the style she loved and appeared in the Sun in 1981 for going to work at Norweb in punk gear.

Now 50 and living in Stretford she’s still a big music fan, and recently enjoyed the Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool. She’s no longer in touch with her pals from David’s image but has a ‘Punks’ Facebook page where she’s posted some of her own pictures, and made contact with lots of other people from those days.

David Chadwick’s images of Manchester clubs captured several emerging sub-cultures, as young people started to take over the city’s dis-used venues and warehouses. They will be exhibited in our Café and Bar 3 Oct – 5 Nov 2013; why not join us at our informal launch to meet David and maybe one or two of his subjects at 17:30 on Thu 3 October. In the meantime Karen kindly filled in some of the background for us, when she shared her recollections over a Diet Coke…

David Chadwick/ We Were All Here, Once runs at Cornerhouse in our Cafe Bar as part of Cornerhouse Projects between Thu 3 Oct – Tue 5 Nov. Join us for the launch of the exhibition on Thu 3 Oct between 17:30 -19:00 in the downstairs bar.