Arts Derbyshire


Local pubs help Derby Museums to acquire rare gig poster collection from the 1970s and 80s

A collection of 90 gig posters from the 1970s and 80s have recently been acquired by Derby Museums made possible with support from the Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and Derby pubs The Flowerpot and Golden Eagle.

The posters document the live music scene during the period 1973-1980, with a particular focus on rock, punk and progressive rock bands and help to fill a significant gap in the museums’ collection relating to pop culture and the live music scene in Derby. The Sex Pistols’ 1976 gig at The King’s Hall is of particular interest, visitors may remember it as one of the ‘Anarchy in the UK’ tour dates that was cancelled after the band caused outrage on Bill Grundy’s ‘Today’ show. Other bands featured in the collection include Thin Lizzy, Mud, AC/DC, The Damned, Curved Air and Derbyshire resident Roy Wood’s band Wizzard.

Well known Derby venues including the Great Hall, Tiffany’s and King’s Hall are represented. Many no longer exist but are fondly remembered. Several gigs were promoted by DCAT (Derby College of Art and Technology) later to become the University of Derby, with the bands often booked to play student nights and RAG balls. Not all of the posters acquired are for concerts, one poster produced for the DCAT Conservation Society, highlight’s the long-term impact of the 1974 energy crisis.

The posters were designed and hand screenprinted by local graphic artist, Rob Gilvary. Rob’s style was influenced by the American West Coast 1970s rock posters and Fritz the Cat illustrations by cartoonist and musician, Robert Crumb. Britain’s longest running photographic studio, Derby based W.W. Winter, assisted Rob in producing his screens.

Rob was a session musician and drummed for a number of the bands featured. In the late 1980s he became landlord of the Victoria Inn on Midland Place, which hosted some big names in punk and rock music. More recently he has worked for CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) producing cover artwork and cartoons for the Nottingham and Derby Drinker magazines.

The posters were purchased from Jonny Thomson and were previously shown at his former exhibition space, The Kunst Gallery, in Belper.

The generous sponsorship of two popular Derby pubs enabled this fantastic collection of posters to be kept together; The Flowerpot, real ale pub and nationally recognised live music venue on King Street, and the Golden Eagle, a traditional style alehouse on Agard Street with regular live music and events. Their support has enabled the posters to be kept together as a collection and plans are currently underway to feature the posters in a number of upcoming exhibitions.

Anna Silander (Landlady) and Tim Heapy (Landlord), at the Golden Eagle, said: “Like so many great ideas, they begin in a pub, over a pint; this was no exception. On hearing about this project from Matt and witnessing his enthusiasm, coupled with our love of music and a strong affiliation to Derby Museum and Art Gallery, it became clear we would be involved at some level, if only small. 

We are pleased and excited that we could help towards the acquisition of this historic collection of Derby live music scene posters for all to see in their splendour, hopefully invoking nostalgia and great memories.”

Terry Evans (Owner) and Catherine Perry (General Manager), at The Flowerpot, said:“At the Flowerpot we are pleased to support this collection of music specific memorabilia – especially as from time to time, we have performing artists from the 60’s 70’s & 80’s appearing live on our stage! Albeit a little older!” 

Matt Edwards (Curator of Visual Art and Joseph Wright Study Room) at Derby Museums, said: “I was delighted when I first saw this poster collection being offered to Derby Museums. The live music scene and memories of past gigs and venues are close to the heart of the people of Derby. It’s been a pleasure to research them, especially tracking down Rob Gilvary and hearing about the production of the posters in the 1970s.

They fill a significant gap in our collection relating to the music and culture of the era. I would like to thank Jonny Thomson, Arts Council England/V&A Purchase Grant Fund, and our local sponsors for their support in acquiring these artworks for our visitors to enjoy and for continuing to bring live music to Derby.”

The posters are currently on rotating display in a project space in the Joseph Wright Gallery at the Museum and Art Gallery where visitors are also invited to share their own memories. Were you at any of these gigs? Do you remember the venues? Perhaps you played there with your band? Share your stories in the project space and help shape future exhibitions.

Derby Gig Posters, 1973-1980 is open until 12 February 2023. Find out more here:

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