THIS WAS ENGLAND was created to coincide with the release of the film This is England by Shane Meadows, PYMCA presented an exhibition of skinhead culture from the early 1980s upon which the film which is based. The exhibition moved to the BFI Southbank for the premiere of the film.

Containing the unique collection of Gavin Watson from the book ‘Skins’, the exhibition offered a unique insight into the lives of young members of this subculture in this turbulent era.

“The influence of SKINHEADS has spread a lot wider than just small groups of people wearing big boots and shaving their heads, their neighbours, family, the community and the people that hated us etc. The stories are the most important thing. The story’s, the myths, the memories, that’s what all this is about really, memories of the time when you were young and didn’t give a fuck or at least pretended you didn’t. I feel it is important to explain the amount of transformations I went through in the years of growing up. Being a skinhead always seemed to be there whether I was losing my virginity or standing in a field nearly ten years later with thousands of ravers.” 
– Gavin Watson

Featured photographers included: Gavin WatsonJohn G ByrneJanette BeckmanToni TyePeter AndersonTed Polhemus & Richard Braine