Grown Up in Britain: 100 Years of Teenage Kicks is opening at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry this July. The major exhibition has been curated by the London based Museum of Youth Culture and is a celebration of teenage life from the roaring 1920s until today. Going beyond the headlines, the exhibition chronicles the lived experiences and impact of young people, their scenes, sounds and styles, through photographs, objects and personal stories - depicting teenage life in the UK over the last century.

Inside the exhibition visitors will be transported to their teenage years through a variety of immersive sections which portray home life and teenage bedrooms, first jobs and nights out, hang out spots and ‘must-have’ items.

Iconic photographs line the walls and set the scene – some by well-known artists such as Ken Russell, Normski, Anita Corbin, Gavin Watson and Lucy McCarthy, as well as nostalgic images submitted from family albums across the country.

Objects on display include a Royal Enfield Constellation motorcycle as pictured on the cover of the Daily Mirror Shock Issue in 1961, a 1920s flapper dress, Chopper bicycle, ZX Spectrum console, band tees, fanzines and much more.

The exhibition culminates with a scanning booth where people can submit their own photographs and ephemera to be included in the exhibition.

Grown Up in Britain is the Museum of Youth Culture’s first major exhibition outside of London on the lead up to the opening of their permanent home in Digbeth, Birmingham in 2025. As the show is taking place in Coventry, several ‘show & tell’ events took place locally to ensure the memories, objects and photographs of Coventrians were captured and reflected in the final exhibition.

The free exhibition is the first to open at the Herbert following a blockbuster programme during UK City of Culture, which included highlights such as Turner Prize 2021, 2 Tone: Lives & Legacies and Daniel Lismore; Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken.

Ruark Jon-Stevens, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, said “Coventry is one of the youngest cities in the UK and we are excited to see how visitors react to this celebratory show documenting teenage life. Every person’s experience will have been so different, but we hope the exhibition connects with each visitor and transports them to a happy moment in their teenage years – even if they are still living through them now.

“We encourage as many people as possible to continue to submit their photographs and memories to the Museum of Youth Culture so they can be preserved and enjoyed in the future. Submissions can be made online at”

Lisa der Weduwe, Archive Projects Manager at Museum of Youth Culture added,During lockdown we invited the public to delve through shoeboxes, lofts and picture albums to radically diversify our collections and bring everyone’s story of growing up into the fray. By innovating a digital submissions portal we received an incredible 6000 photographs, objects and stories forming the Grown Up in Britain collection, and this exhibition is both a celebration and a thank you to all who have sent in their stories.

“We discovered that throughout the eras in every town in the UK, youth was expressed in subtly different ways - so a punk in Plymouth looks different to one in Perth. This show will reflect how Coventry interprets its youth culture. We are all excited to see the outcome and with added ephemera from heroes and celebrities from the city, this is sure to be an unmissable exhibition”.

She continued, “The opportunity to work with a leading organisation such as the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum reinforces the importance of documenting our social history through its youth culture”.

Grown Up in Britain: 100 Years of Teenage Kicks is made possible with generous support from The National Lottery Heritage Fund as part of the Museum of Youth Culture's lead project 'Amplified Voices: Turning up the Volume on Regional Youth Culture'. Thanks to National Lottery players, Museum of Youth Culture have been able to collect and showcase the incredible, diverse story of youth culture across the breadth of Britain.


Grown Up in Britain
Grown Up in Britain

Going beyond the headlines, Grown Up in Britain chronicles the everyday experiences and cultural impact of young people through photographs, objects and stories.



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