The Shed door – a brief history..

The original shed door

The Shed door Photo © Simon Thackray

Why the door?

Simon Thackray walked out of his shed (also his studio) in the spring of 1992 armed with his trusted Pentax K1000. Mission: to take a photograph to use as a poster for two charity concerts. The first object he photographed was his shed door and this became the publicity image for the first ever Shed gig in Kirkby Misperton Church in June 1992. (A cropped version is top left of this page).

The shed door made its first appearance on stage on 20 November 1992 and Labi Siffre sang “Something Inside (So Strong)” to an audience of 50 people in Brawby village hall. The Shed and the shed door was open for business.

The actual door (as well as the photo) has appeared on countless radio and TV programmes and in magazine and newspaper articles from Dales Diary to Yorkshire Life, Independent, Guardian and Granada TV’s Stars In Their Eyes! The door was featured on Kaleidoscope on BBC Radio 4, has hung above the stage at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London and was once converted into a raft and sailed in Scarborough harbour. The door is the subject of several poems by the Bard Of Barnsley, Ian McMillan and even the topic of a sermon preached in Norwich Cathedral.

Simon Thackray / shed door © Kippa Matthews

The Shed

Only two man-made things can be seen from space
The Great Wall of China, and this:
An old Shed door and a packed out place
Of community, cultural, artistic bliss…

If the world has a centre then this is it,
And I’m only exaggerating a tiny bit!

© Ian McMillan

Simon Thackray with The Books: Photo © Mary Thackray

Simon Thackray with The Books: Photo © Mary Thackray

The door still forms the centre-piece on stage at every gig and is a familiar icon to thousands of Shed goers, steeped in music, poetry and great memories. Both the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, and the makar (national poet of Scotland) Liz Lochhead, have given readings in front of The Shed door.

The Shed door and other stuff (not many people know this…):

1. Simon uses the back of his door as a convenient place to clean white spirit from his paint brushes.

2. Simon and Jenny got married in front of the shed door at Ryedale House, Malton on 30 June 2001. Snake Davis played flute, Richard Barnes read a special poem by Ian McMillan and Billy Jenkins premiered a new song written for the occasion called: “I Aint Gettin’ Married In The Mornin’”. The song is featured on Billy’s new CD “Born Again”.


Buy the original shed door photograph from The Shed Online Shop.