Digitising the 59 Club Archive
Preserving 500 photographs of motorcycle culture in Britain
“During its heyday in the 60s when everyone would race everywhere on big motorcycles, leaving the club on a Saturday to race to Chelsea bridge, the sense of freedom and camaraderie amongst a bunch of people with the same outlook.”
- Dick Bennett, Club Leader
As part of our National Lottery Heritage Funded project to develop the online Museum of Youth Culture, we worked on finding outstanding archives documenting heritage-at-risk (focusing on early subcultural movements of the 50s and 60s). It was in the early stages of this research that we came across the legendary 59 Club, a motorcycle club founded by a vicar in the 1960s.
Providing a space for the growing Bikers and Rockers scene The Vicar’s Caff, as it became known, was a hotspot for 60s youth culture in London. Working together with the current club leaders, we digitised 400 previously unseen prints from the club’s heyday spanning the 60s - 80s. The digitisation of this collection will help preserve the story and legacy of this incredible club that was a home to so many young people.