Joy Division lyrics and Granada Television's archive feature in British Pop Exhibition in Manchester

The exhibition will initially focus on Manchester and the pop culture to have come out of the city. Credit: PA Images

Handwritten Joy Division lyrics and the complete archive of Granada Television will feature in an exhibition dedicated to British pop culture at the University of Manchester.

The British Pop Archive, created at the The John Rylands Research Institute and Library, is the first national collection dedicated to the preservation of popular culture.

It will initially focus on Manchester and the pop culture to have come out of the city, and show unique and unseen treasures like Ian Curtis's handwritten lyrics, which have not been seen by the public before.

Handwritten lyrics by Joy Division's Ian Curtis will feature in the exhibition. Credit: PA

The exhibition will include elements of the Manchester pop scene with items from The Hacienda nightclub and some of the city's most memorable bands including The Smiths.

The exhibition will also show the complete archive of Granada Television, which makes the likes of Coronation Street and feature original posters for Sex Pistols gigs at The Lesser Free Trade Hall in Manchester.

Manchester's Hacienda nightclub in 1992. Credit: PA

The archive's creator, Professor Hannah Barker said: "British popular culture is unique. It's one of our biggest cultural exports."

She added: "People outside of Britain, if you talk to them about pop music or the music they like, they will often talk about British music."

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."

The collection will show the entire Granada Television archive. Credit: PA

The archive will subsequently be expanded to become a national collection, and create a comprehensive representation of British popular culture.

Professor Barker credited the idea for the project to the death of Buzzcocks singer Pete Shelley and The Fall vocalist Mark E Smith, and wondering whether the musicians had archives and what would become of them.

She says one of the biggest supporters of the project is The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr is a big supporter of the project and has offered his experiences. Credit: PA

Professor Barker said: "I got to meet him (Johnny) and talk about the project and I got to talk to other people and the family members of people involved."

She added: "People are often really keen to ensure that that things stay in public hands, because a lot of this stuff is the sort of thing that could easily be sold on auction sites.

"So it's great to be able to keep records of businesses or individual lives publicly available."

The exhibition called 'Collection', will run from 19 May until January 15 2023 at the John Rylands Research Institute and Library at the University of Manchester.


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