A sad time for England’s’ high street – BHS’s closure takes with it many jobs, a brand identity and an archive of a British retail business dating back to 1928. When I was little, I remember being taken on shopping trips on the bus along the sea front into Worthing with my Nan, ‘Nanny Brown’ (my Dads Mum). We would go into BHS and my Nanny Brown would buy me matching vest and knickers which would have an animal on the front…. the kitten ones seem to have stuck in my head.
I have quite a few pieces of second hand BHS clothing in my own archives of raw materials. Some of these clothes I have used in past works and some I may keep as part of my own archive collection.
The work ‘S-t-r-e-t-c-h’ which I made in 1999 was woven from a size 12 British Home Stores (BHS) Polyester full petticoat, which I bought in a Brighton charity shop and had been hand dyed. Acting as a vertebra, the black lace running the full length of the petticoat became the focus of the work.
‘S-t-r-e-t-c-h’ was exhibited in group and solo exhibitions including ‘Out of the Closet’ 2000 Sothebys London and ‘Intimate Foundations’, 2000-01, first touring solo exhibition. The work was purchased back in 2001 by the former South East Art Collection, now Brighton & Hove Museums Collection.
Photo credits; Top BHS Brighton Last day 24th Aug 2016. middle right BHS Brighton closed middle left Lucy Browns’ ‘S-t-r-e-t-c-h’ 1999. © Uses a British Home Stores (BHS) Polyester full petticoat, size 12 (hand dyed). 130 x 125 cm. Photographers credit James Newell Bottom Lucy Browns’ Intimate Foundations. Solo Touring Exhibition. Hove Museum and Art Gallery 2001©