In Review: 60 Years Of Andy Capp Exhibition In Hartlepool

We have mentioned it here on downthetubes before but, now that the 60 Years Of Andy Capp exhibition has opened at the Museum Of Hartlepool, it is worth mentioning again because it is an excellent, and completely free, exhibition.

Artist Reg Symthe’s northern working man (or perhaps that should be ‘not working man’) and his long suffering wife Flo first appeared in the Northern edition of the Daily Mirror in 1957 and the exhibition commemorates both them and their creator.

The exhibition also tells the life of Smyth (who would add an E to his surname for his professional work) from his birth, through his education and wartime service as well as displaying a selection of his pre-Andy Capp work. By far the largest section of the exhibition is the huge number of original Andy Capp art boards on display but it also includes some of the tie-in merchandise and does not forget to mention the near forgotten live action Andy Capp TV series broadcast on ITV in 1988 featuring James Bolam as Andy and Paula Tilbrook as Flo. It even has a packet of the American Andy Capp crisps, perhaps the most bizarre piece of British comics tie-in merchandise currently available.

Also included is mention of Buster comic, the title character of which was originally said to be Andy Capp’s son, although the newspaper strip itself never implied that the Capp’s had any children as Smythe did not consider that children should be included in their dysfunctional relationship.

Liberally illustrated with photos, merchandise and personal artefacts, as well as being stuffed full of original Andy Capp artwork, this is an impressively well thought out and designed exhibition and is well worth a visit.

In addition to the exhibition, the statue of Andy Capp remains at the Hartlepool Headland some 5 minutes drive from the museum. Propping up the bar with a pint in his hand, the statue has recently been yarn-bombed by graffiti knitters along with some other places in the Headland area.

The free exhibition is open at the Museum Of Hartlepool, which shares a free car park and entrance hall with the National Museum of The Royal Navy Hartlepool (originally the Hartlepool Maritime Experience), and it continues until 27 August 2017. There are more details of its location and opening times at the Museum Of Hartlepool website.

The Andy Capp statue is located beside the Pot House pub in Croft Terrace on the Hartlepool Headland. On-street parking in the area is free and drivers should be aware that the part of the road the statue is located on is a one way system.

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