Young people from Leicester charity, Soft Touch Arts, have been examining teenage life in the 1950s as part of a new multi-media exhibition.

The Changing You(th) Exhibition will take place at the charity’s youth arts and heritage centre from the 2ndto 30thOctober and compares teenage life in the 1950s to today.

The young people interviewed people of an older generation, who were themselves teenagers during the 1950s, as well as their peers who are teenagers today in order to create artwork based on the themes of Leisure, Education, Dreams & Realities by looking at subjects such as fashion, dating, social mobility and schooling.

The exhibition has been organised to celebrate Soft Touch Arts’ move into new premises at 50 New Walk, built in 1951 as a showroom for motor cars such as the Jowett Javellin Changing You(th) has been organised in association with independent curator, Malika Kraamer, and is supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant.

Here is a snapshot of life in 1955 – 60 years ago this year:

  • A 1955 story from the Leicester Mercury reveals Teddy Boys were banned from De Montfort Hall following reports of ‘rowdyism’ at the hall.
  • 5thApril 1955 - Sir Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister due to failing health
  • 17thJuly 1955 – Stirling Moss becomes the first English winner of the British Grand Prix at Aintree Motor Racing Circuit.
  • 29thJuly 1955 – The Seven Year Itch, starring Marilyn Monroe, is released
  • 29th July 1955 - This Is Your Life premieres on the BBC
  • 27thAugust 1955 – The Guinness Book of Records is published for the first time with a print run of 50,000
  • 30thSeptember 1955 – Rebel Without a Cause star James Dean is killed in a car crash
  • 1stOctober 1955 - Slim Whitman held the number one single with ‘Rose Marie’
  • 20thOctober 1955 - J. R. R. Tolkien's The Return of the King, third and final part of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was published
  • Susan and David become the most popular names for babies born in the 1950s

Sally Norman, Director of Soft Touch Arts, comments: “We are excited to be revealing the Changing You(th) Exhibition, which our young people have been working on for some time. The exhibition has given them an excellent opportunity to explore what life was like for teenagers during the 1950s by interviewing those who were young at that time living anywhere in the world then but all living in Leicester now. The also interviewed their peers and discovered that some lead very different lives to their own.  It is a fitting exhibition to celebrate our arrival at 50 New Walk and has been a really engaging project for the young people who are involved with Soft Touch Arts.”

The exhibition will feature audio, artwork, photography and artefacts based on the charity’s findings.

The public is invited to relive teenage life in the 1950s and comparing it to today by viewing the exhibition and taking part in a range of family-friendly arts and crafts activities, which will be held during half-term.

School parties are also welcome to step back in time by visiting Changing You(th), pre-booking is required.

Changing You(th) runs from the 2ndto 30thOctober and is open Tuesday to Friday between 11am and 3pm. Half-term openings times: 11am to 5pm Saturday 17thOctober, 11am to 5pm Tuesday 20thto Friday 23rdOctober and 11am to 4pm Sunday 25thOctober.

A preview event will be held on 1stOctober from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.

For more information on the exhibition and related activities go to or for further details about Soft Touch Arts visit  For school visits contact


About Soft Touch Arts

Soft Touch Arts creates brighter futures for disadvantaged young people. Established in 1986, the Leicester-based charity uses the arts, media and music activities to inspire and engage young people, helping them to develop creative, social and employability skills.  

The charity purchased the New Walk building from the City Council in April 2012.  In 2013 they were awarded a £616,000 grant from Arts Council England to refurbish the building to create a youth arts and heritage centre.  A further £400,000 has been provided by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Leicester City Council Cultural Services and Youth Service, The Trusthouse Foundation, The Wooden Spoon Charity, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Clothworkers’ Foundation and other smaller trusts and private business donors and the charity’s own fundraising efforts.

Heritage Lottery Fund - Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery

For more information on Soft Touch Arts please contact Caroline Spence from Anicca on 0116 298 3726 or 07946 169482 |


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