"After the gloom of winter the town is waking up again in time for its biggest event in years." That was what was written in The Argus 50 years ago on April 3, 1974, just days before Abba took to the stage for their career-defining performance at Brighton Dome, storming to victory in the Eurovision Song Contest.

Now, as the city prepares to celebrate the anniversary of the win, a new exhibition is bringing together artefacts and people who remember the contest vividly.

As you step into the Abba: One Week In Brighton exhibition at Brighton Museum, you are transported back to the time Eurovision took over the city in 1974.

And that is exactly what Jacqui Shevlin says as she reflects on her experience of the contest.

Then 15, Jacqui helped her photographer father Peter O’Byrne capture what has now become the historic start of Abba’s rise to superstardom.

Now 65 and still living in Portslade, Jacqui said: “The exhibition took me right back to that night. It was a surreal time in the town that night.

The Argus: A man walking past a photo of Abba in BrightonA man walking past a photo of Abba in Brighton (Image: Simon Dack)

“I shall never forget the moment Abba got out of the lift at The Grand hotel – it looked like Starship Enterprise had landed. They just walked to the coach and I had never seen men in high heel silver platform boots. I could see they were winners.”

On April 6, 1974, Abba’s rendition of Waterloo saw them sweep aside the competition at the Eurovision Song Contest, hosted at the Dome, and the event became a pivotal moment for the quartet and the city.

This year’s exhibition showcases a myriad of artefacts from the days surrounding the show including score cards from the event, articles from what was then the Evening Argus and even the drum kit used by the band on the night.

The Argus: The drum kit used on the night of Abba's big winThe drum kit used on the night of Abba's big win (Image: Simon Dack)

In a darkly lit room set to a backing track of Abba’s greatest hits you can really feel what Eurovision meant to the city and the people watching it.

TJ Davis was six years old when she watched the contest on TV. She said the event inspired her to get into the music industry – and she did just that as a member of Abba tribute act Bjorn Again.

The Argus: TJ Davis stood in front of her Bjorn Again costumesTJ Davis stood in front of her Bjorn Again costumes (Image: Simon Dack)

The 56-year-old, whose costumes are on display at the exhibition, said: “I lay on the floor watching them win the Eurovision Song Contest and turned around to my mum and said ‘that is what I want to do’.

“I didn't expect it to be doing Abba itself, but I absolutely loved them from that minute. I was a complete fan and it just carried on from there.

“I feel really proud to have the costumes featured in the exhibition, it's very exciting. I just feel so grateful to have been a part of it and now that I live in Hove and I can see all these as well, it just feels so amazing.”

Costumes worn by Bjorn Again sit in the centre of one of the rooms, backed by footage from Eurovision of Abba performing in the original costumes 50 years ago.

The exhibition seeks to take people back to the 1970s through the looking glass of the Eurovision Song Contest – but also to show how much the show still means to Brighton.

Jody East, curator of the exhibition at Brighton Museum, said: “It's so wonderful to be able to open the doors and invite all the contributors in to see their objects and their stories in the show.

The Argus: Jody EastJody East (Image: Simon Dack)

“For me it's really being able to bring together this collective Brighton memory of this Brighton story. All these people who still live in Brighton and still have all these things in their attics or in their collections or under their beds.

“We wanted to reflect Eurovision and Abba’s win in Eurovision through the context of Brighton’s experience.

“I hope people embrace it. A lot of people don't know that Abba really began their international career here in Brighton, so I'm hoping that this will really raise the profile of that little bit of pop history that Brighton was at the centre of.”

Abba: One Week In Brighton, opens to the public tomorrow and will run until August 4. A special day of events will also take place on April 6 to coincide with the 50-year anniversary of the Eurovision Song Contest in Brighton.