Hell Bent for Walsall Leather Museum!

Mike Glasson, Senior Curator at Walsall Leather Museum shows off Rob Halford’s costumes (Pix: Stuart Williams)

Walsall Leather Museum has joined forces with Home of Metal plus friends, family, fans and the band to lay on a superb show of costumes, collectibles, art and photography of seminal Heavy Metal music superstars Judas Priest – and expecially Bloxwich lad and lead singer Rob Halford .

The historic home of leatherworking is taking a look at ‘the look’ of Heavy Metal and its most famous sons of rock. Dressed top-to-toe in an awe-inspiring mixture of shining leather and gleaming studs and chains, Rob Halford and ‘Priest moved the Heavy Metal scene and its fans firmly into the territory of the rebellious outlaw; to a place where image became inextricably linked with sound.  And what could be more appropriate than an exhibition in the heart of the heavy metal Black Country and the leather capital of the world?

Two of Rob Halford’s costumes from the ‘Fuel for Life’ tour, 1986. Plus original art, posters and memorabilia.

The exhibition ‘Hell Bent for Leather: Judas Priest and the Heavy Metal Look’, which opened on Friday 8 July, occupies two rooms on the first floor of the Littleton Street West museum, part of Walsall Council, which showcases the quality craft and enormous contribution which the leather industry has made to Walsall’s economy and reputation over the centuries.

Costumes, art, memorabilia – and a photo wall by Stuart Williams.

The exhibition at the Leather Museum, which has been curated by Exhibition Officer Francesca Cox, comprises a range of costumes on loan from Rob’s sister Sue and the band, primarily those of Rob Halford, who in his youth lived on Beechdale Estate and went to school in Bloxwich,  from the 1980s-90s.

More costumes by Ray Brown, and much else.

Original costume design art by Ray Brown.

The costumes were designed and made by Ray Brown, who has loaned artwork showing some of his designs.  Poster artist Mark Wilkinson also has work on show. The exhibition also includes a wide range of memorabilia contributed by fans and collectors Steve Grennan, Bill Sneyd and Malcolm Carter, plus original photography of the band in a series of prints by Stuart Williams (Edditer of The Bloxidge Tallygraph. More detailed credits are available via this link.

Home of Metal, a remarkable project and series of events which is currently sweeping the Black Country and Birmingham with a range of exhibitions and events celebrating the origins of Heavy Metal Music in the region in the late 1960s and later, is doing much to bring to light the amazing contribution which local people, musicians, singers, songwriters, artists and craftsmen have made to the globe-spanning musical phenomenon. For more on the Home of Metal Project and events running through the season, check out their website here.

This truly excellent Walsall exhibition is surely not to be missed by Judas Priest fans and metalheads in general.  Moreover, even if you’re not a fan of heavy metal, you still owe it to yourself to find out how our amazing local musicians have conquered the world in a remarkable cultural phenomenon which still thrives and grows today.

Oh yes – and here’s what it’s all about:

‘Hell Bent for Leather: Judas Priest and the Heavy Metal Look’ is on till 10 September 2011.

Walsall Leather Museum is open Tuesday – Saturday: 10am-5pm, and admission is free.  More details of the Museum via this link.

If you can’t make it to the exhibition, why not check out our photographic tour via this link.

A short biography of Rob Halford by Stuart Williams is in our Bloxwich History section here.

Rob Halford’s own website is here, and Judas Priest’s site is here.

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