Memorabilia belonging to members of Joy Divison, New Order, The Smiths and more will go on display at Manchester’s new British Pop Archive.
The John Rylands Research Institute and Library has announced a “first of its kind” national collection at The University of Manchester, which is dedicated to the preservation and research of popular culture, is set to open its doors on May 19, 2022, until January 15, 2023.
The BPA will launch with ‘Collection’, a “distinctively Manchester-flavoured exhibition” which will exhibit artefacts from the city’s cultural landscape such as iconic Manchester-based soap ‘Coronation Street’ and famous musicians from the city in an effort to “tell the story of a vibrant city” that has “art, culture and music at its heart.”
A press release added: “The exhibition features iconic items from British pop history, many of which have never been seen by the public. Highlights include personal items relating to The Smiths, New Order, The Haçienda, Factory Records, Granada Television and Joy Division.”
These include Joy Division and New Order’s manager Rob Gretton’s “original written vision for the band, Ian Curtis’ handwritten lyrics to Joy Division classics such as ‘She’s Lost Control’ and ‘Atmosphere’, original posters for Sex Pistols’ legendary gigs at The Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester and important works by designer Peter Saville that set the visual template for Factory Records. The complete corporate archive of Granada Television is a major resource of a ground-breaking company.”
Professor Christopher Pressler, John Rylands University Librarian and Director of The University of Manchester Library, said: “The John Rylands Research Institute and Library is one of the acknowledged great libraries of the world. This position is founded on our astonishing special collections and archives. Whilst we continue to work on materials in every format and every language from five thousand years of human history it is critical that we also engage with our own time. The British Pop Archive is part of our desire to reach into areas not always associated with major research libraries, including pop music, popular culture, counter-culture, television and film. This is a national archive held in Manchester, one of the most important centres of modern culture in the world.”
Mat Bancroft, Curator of the British Pop Archive, said: “We launch the British Pop Archive with a Manchester focused exhibition full of unique and unseen artefacts. These materials tell the story of a vibrant city with art, culture and music at its heart. More than that they foreground the creative catalysts, musicians, producers, artists, designers and writers who have instigated this repositioning of landscape – to propose media as the new cultural capital of the city.”
For more details about the British Pop Archive, visit www.library.manchester.ac.uk/rylands/special-collections/exploring/guide-to-special-collections/british-pop-archive.