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The British Pop Archive

The British Pop Archive is a national collection dedicated to the preservation and research of popular culture.

It is the first specifically designated, large-scale popular culture archive in the UK. The collection's launch will be supported with a major exhibition at the Rylands, featuring iconic items from the Manchester pop culture scene.

Joy Division acetate side A, 1979.
Joy Division acetate side A, 1979.

The British Pop Archive (BPA) aims to celebrate and preserve British popular music and other aspects of popular culture, recognising its pivotal influence on the world stage.

Why Manchester?

Manchester's thriving cultural scene has long contributed to the development of a city that is a global symbol of innovation, creativity and social progress, making it the perfect setting for the archive: a collection that will preserve and tell the stories of post-war popular culture on a national scale.

The Collection

The collection comprises major archives of individuals and organisations involved in British popular music and popular culture. This includes the archives of musicians, bands, clubs, managers, agents, journalists, photographers and designers. Currently the collection includes posters, recorded music, interviews, artwork, promotional materials, ephemera, touring materials, merchandise, personal and business correspondence. 

The launch of the British Pop Archive has attracted a great deal of interest. As you can imagine, we’ve been inundated by contacts as a result. Please note it may take some time for us to get back to you regarding any potential donation to the BPA.

Any queries relating to the collection can be directed to the Special Collections and Services team.

Current archives

At present there are eleven archives that comprise the BPA.

Anthony Wilson archive

The personal archive of the journalist, TV and radio presenter, Factory Records co-founder and director and In The City music conference partner.

Ian Curtis archive

The archive includes Ian Curtis’ original handwritten lyrics to Joy Division classics - Love Will Tear Us Apart, She’s Lost Control, Atmosphere and many of the bands best loved songs.

Rob Gretton archive

The complete personal archive of Rob Gretton, manager of Joy Division, New Order, instigator of The Haçienda and Factory Records partner.

Andy Spinoza archive

The personal archive of the cultural journalist, public relations specialist and founder of City Life magazine.

Kevin Cummins archive

The Personal archive of award winning photographer Kevin Cummins.

Bob Dickinson archive

The personal archives of the cultural journalist.

Corporate archive of Granada television

The corporate archive of Granada TV. Containing working paper materials, correspondence, programme notes and documentation.

Jon Savage's Situationist materials

Jon Savage's own collection of Situationist writings helps connect and support some of the content from other archives, specifically those connected to Factory Records.

Terence Pepper collection

The Personal Collection of the Former Head of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery who curated over 150 exhibitions and displays at the Gallery from 1978-2015.

CP Lee archive

The personal archives of the musician, writer and educator. Described as the scaffolding that the Manchester music scene was built on.

Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones archive

The working materials of ex Granada Television research and producers Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones.

Working with celebrated author and broadcaster Jon Savage, recently appointed as Professor of Popular Culture at The University of Manchester, the British Pop Archive plans to build on its current collection to create a comprehensive representation of British popular culture.