Joy Division, Sex Pistols and more to feature in new British Pop Archive in Manchester

It promises to be "a national collection dedicated to the preservation and research of popular culture"

Trending Now

Details of a new British Pop Archive in Manchester have been revealed, detailing the history of some of the city’s most famous bands.

Hosted at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library at the University of Manchester, the new BPA is described as “a national collection dedicated to the preservation and research of popular culture.”

Featuring artefacts from Joy Division, Sex Pistols, New Order and more bands integral to the city’s musical history, the BPA promises to “celebrate and preserve British popular music and other aspects of popular culture, recognising its pivotal influence on the world stage.”


The BPA’s first exhibit will come in the form of ‘Collection’, launching on May 19. A statement describes it as “a distinctively Manchester-flavoured exhibition, underlining why the city is the perfect home for the British Pop Archive. Curated by British Pop Archive curator Mat Bancroft, Jon Savage and Hannah Barker, it explores the vibrant cultural scene of a city that has driven innovation, creativity and social progress.

“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.”

Watch a trailer for the BPA below.

Professor Christopher Pressler, 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, the British Pop Archive’s Curator, added: “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.”

Originally published on NME

Latest Issue