Clive Jenkins Exhibition at Sutton House

Clive Jenkins Exhibition at Sutton House

Our upcoming exhibition kicking off 2019 tells the story of the near 30 years when Clive Jenkins and the ASTMS (Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs ) trade union were based at Sutton House.

Sutton House has a long tradition as a place for ideas and culture. It was once home to Thomas Cromwell's protege Ralph Sadleir and occupied by squatters during the 1980s. During the spring of 1953, the Association of Supervisory Staffs, Executives and Technicians (ASSET), the Trade Union organisation took up tenancy of Sutton House.

ASSET merged with the Association of Scientific Workers in 1968 to form the ASTMS. Sutton House, in varying capacities, remained their administrative offices for almost 30 years.They left in the early 1980s, and the house soon fell into disrepair.

Their leader was Clive Jenkins (May 2nd 1926- Sept 22nd 1999), who was born in Port Talbot, South Wales, and took his first job in industry at the age of 14. Clive was an intriguing character, with one foot in and one foot out of the establishment he was so critical of. He was perhaps as well-known for being an impassioned orator with a ‘love affair with claret’ and exclusive parties, as he was for his politics. He was also an influential figure in the Labour party at the time. 

" He was quite brilliant. An acerbic wit, people always thought he was being sarcastic, well sometimes he was, but he was also extremely clever and quite a warm hearted fellow underneath."
- Joy Geary, former Office Manager for ASTMS at Sutton House

Visitors can explore a recreation of Clive’s office, in the rather ostentatious grand Linenfold Parlour. With support from our volunteers, we’ll use images and accounts from our archive to recreate the spirit of Clive and the ASTMS in the place he would have worked.

" We often overlook the pivotal role Sutton House played in hosting some of the most progressive thinkers of the mid-late 20th century. I’m really excited that thanks to new research we’ll be telling these stories for the first time."
- Sean Curran, Community Learning Manager and Clive Exhibition Curator

Visitors will have access to unseen material from our collection that will be displayed for the first time, and to hear first-hand stories of what it was like to work with Clive at Sutton House. Our volunteers are helping to build our understanding of this important period, by delving into our archive, cataloguing and indexing material, and recording oral histories. 

As well as an opportunity to carry out new research about this intriguing chapter in Sutton House’s life, the Clive Jenkins exhibition is a great way to kick off our new opening hours and exclusive guided tours.

The exhibition opens on Friday 1 February 2019 and runs until Sunday 2 June 2019.

Please make sure to book your visit, there are three options for visiting:

Self-guided visits
Wednesday - Friday, 14.00 - 16.00

Twilight tours
Wednesday, Thursday or Friday, 18.30 - 20.00

Guided tours
Saturday and Sunday, 12.00 - 14.00, 14.00 - 16.00

See the links below to book your place.