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Lewis's fifth floor: a department story

26 February to 30 August 2010

Please note that this exhibition has now closed

tiled wall with food images

© Stephen King

This exhibition of photography taken in Lewis's, one of the UK's oldest and most iconic department stores which sadly closed in summer 2010, revealed a world that had been hidden since the early 1980s.

The fifth floor, with its hair salon, cafeteria and restaurants, was the epitome of style in the 1950s. Three decades later the entire floor closed to the public and it was used for storage for the final few decades that Lewis's was open. Local photographer Stephen King has beautifully captured the faded glamour of this lost world, including many of the original features.

Largely empty at the time that Stephen photographed it, the floor was once a bustling hive of activity. In addition to stunning views of the interiors, the exhibition included a series of portraits of employees from several decades, photographed in their original place of work, with reminiscences of life at Lewis's during that era. Their presence injected life into the spectral setting of the now deserted floor.

Also included in the exhibition was an artist documentary filmed and produced by Jacqueline Passmore. The film examined the impact of Lewis's heyday through interviews with staff from the fifth floor.

The exhibition was developed by Neutral Spoon art project management, supported by The National Lottery through Arts Council England.

Further information is available on the Stephen King photography website.