A new British Pop Archive chronicling the history of the UK’s most famous musicians has opened at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library.

The collection promises to “celebrate and preserve British popular music and other aspects of popular culture, recognising its pivotal influence on the world stage.”

The launch is supported by a major exhibition at the Rylands, celebrating iconic moments from Manchester’s pop culture scene.

While we need little convincing, Manchester has been chosen to host the collection due to its “thriving cultural scene” that has “contributed to the development of a city that is a global symbol of innovation, creativity and social progress.”

The collection features major archives of individuals and organisations involved in British popular music and popular culture, from musicians, bands and managers to clubs, agents and photographers.

Iconic items from British pop history, many of which have never been seen by the public, include personal items relating to The Smiths, New Order, The Haçienda, Factory Records, Granada Television and Joy Division—such as Ian Curtis’s original handwritten lyrics for ‘She’s Lost Control’.

Working with the celebrated music journalist and broadcaster Jon Savage—who was recently appointed as Professor of Popular Culture at The University of Manchester – the BPA has ambitious plans to build on its current collection and create a comprehensive representation of British popular culture.

Thu 19 May - Sat 15 Jan, John Rylands Research Institute and Library,
150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH
Bradley Lengden
Published on:
Thu 19 May 2022