THE age of the Teddy Boy is celebrated in an exhibition of 1950s and 60s memorabilia.

The First Teen Age, at Trapezium Gallery in Bradford city centre, comprises posters, cartoons and cuttings belonging to Brian A Rushgrove, whose rock 'n' roll archive has been displayed across Europe. The exhibition looks at the press and public reaction to the Teddy Boy movement, and Mods and Rockers.

Brian, who grew up in Fagley and Undercliffe, got into music at youth clubs in the 1950s and bought his first record, Jailhouse Rock, aged 13. "My uncle, who was a Ted, gave me loads of '78s and posters. Now I've got thousands of posters of acts and concerts, and 20,000 press cuttings," said Brian, 74. "This year is the 70th anniversary of Teddy Boys - the first rock 'n' roll record was Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats in June 1951. This exhibition looks at the scene from 1951-64.

"Rock 'n' roll was like an earthquake to young people. Those who remember it still have a lot of affection for it - it's in our blood. There's loads of interest in this exhibition. An 82-year-old man came in the other day with a photo of himself in a Ted suit, taken on Kirkgate in 1955. A couple saw my poster of an Eddie Cochran concert where they got engaged."

The exhibition looks at the Teddy Boy style of Edwardian suits and ‘creeper’ shoes. "In 1947 a new fashion was being pushed out to the upper classes: Edwardian-style suits. But when the 'Spiv element' got hold of it, and Teddy Boys started to get a 'juvenile delinquent' reputation, it became unwearable for toffs," said Brian. "The Teds made the look more flamboyant, with velvet collars and crepe soles, and the Press picked up on the 'Teddy Boys' term in 1953. Like all gang culture, there was a sense of belonging, but it was viewed as subversive. The 1950s Establishment was in turmoil; one minute young people were clean and decent, the next they were jivin’ in cinema aisles and dressing up like peacocks. The Press tried to ridicule Teds in newspaper cartoons but the Teds loved them!

"Most Teds were brought up in single parent families because fathers had died in the war. They started work early, on building sites and engineering firms. It was a working-class culture, but the suits were expensive. It wasn't until I started work, at 15, at English Electric, that I bought my first 'creepers'," added Brian, who has published over 130 articles on music, fashion and other aspects of 1950s and 60s youth culture.

* The First Teen Age is at Trapezium Gallery, 58 Kirkgate, Bradford, until Saturday, July 17, Tuesday to Saturday, 11am-5pm. Visit