Beyond The Jiving

Mel Wright
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Beyond The Jiving

Published July 2008

During the foggy 1950’s she worked in the poor districts of West London trying to spark the imagination of working class youth. Margareta Berger- Hamerschlag (1902 – 1958) an Austrian émigré artist, kept, and had published, a diary of her work in youth clubs, illustrated with her drawings. She chronicled her frustrations and highlighted the insights and beliefs that had helped her better understand the post-war teenagers. Beyond The Jiving by Mel Wright marks the fiftieth anniversary of her death.    

Largely overlooked for over fifty years, Margareta Berger-Hamerschlag, taught art in youth clubs in the tough, back street areas of Kilburn and Paddington during 1950’s. Her classes included rowdy, jiving teddy boys and girls. They were taken aback by her brave insistence that they widen their view of the world and she got them drawing and painting. Most fiercely resisted, some begrudgingly conceded; a few flourished. But despite the sheer frustration, Margareta’s most engaging accomplishment was her understanding of these young people and her compassionate and touching interest in their difficult situations. As a result she became their confidante and supporter, listening and learning about their harsh family lives. Through her diary, writings, drawings and paintings, her work stands as a remarkable and moving social record of working class youth in post war London. Mel Wright’s Beyond The Jiving is a tribute to her work with young people.    


London/History £7.50                                Design: Jude Keen





Size A4 Landscape. Paperback. Regency Satin White

24pp, 18 black & white & 8 colour images. Limited edition.



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