Farewell to Lewis’s event to be held on Sunday 29 August 2010

c. Stephen King

Several big exhibitions end this week, don’t miss this one.

Doors close on Lewis’s Fifth Floor

Farewell to Lewis’s event to be held on Sunday 29 August 2010

Following the closure of Liverpool’s oldest department store at the end of May, the last remaining ‘outpost’ of Lewis’s closes at the end of this month, with a special event to mark the occasion.

Opened the same week in February as it was announced Lewis’s would close, the Lewis’s Fifth Floor: A Department Story photography exhibition at the National Conservation Centre finishes its run on 30 August.

On Sunday 29 August, a free Farewell to Lewis’s event will be held, to celebrate the success of the exhibition and reminisce about the department store, which became a Liverpool institution. All are welcome to come along between 1 and 3pm to enjoy the music and afternoon tea on offer, and share memories of the store. People are also invited to bring along any of their own Lewis’s photographs to be scanned by the exhibition team.

The first solo exhibition by Liverpool photographer Stephen King, Lewis’s Fifth Floor has already attracted over 37,000 people. It reflects Stephens visits to the store’s ‘lost’ fifth floor which was closed to the public in the early 1980s, whilst also revealing the faces of ex-employees in their original place of work.

Aside from the vast range of products, clothes and accessories Lewis’s offered to its customers, many will have special memories of the fifth floor, and the unique element it added to a day out shopping in what wasn’t just any old department store.

Included in the exhibition are images of the cafeteria which once seated 600 people, with its Grade II listed unique hand-painted ceramic tile work. The 65 metre-long mural features condiments, utensils, vegetables and cutlery will be incorporated into the new development, which will reconfigure the existing floor space as part of a new leisure and retail development.

Other features in the exhibition include the fifth floor’s renowned hair salon, which at one point employed over 50 people alone. It was where the more well off went to get their hair coiffed and where singer Shirley Bassey allegedly sent her wigs to be styled! The seats, hairdryers, sinks and 1970s period wallpaper are vividly captured in Stephen’s images.

National Museums Liverpool curator Nicky Lewis said: “The fantastic visitor figures really reflect the importance of Lewis’s in the city, and how much Merseysiders have taken it into their hearts.

“Stephen’s exhibition and the Lewis’s project as a whole has built on this affection and worked to create something that will leave a lasting legacy of this Liverpool institution. With Neutral Spoon art project management, Stephen has worked to produce some beautiful photography, and collected memories which will mark the city’s love of Lewis’s forever.”

National Conservation Centre Whitechapel, Liverpool Admission FREE
Open 10am-5pm every day Information 0151 478 4999
Website www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/conservation www.lewissfifthfloor.com