The British Pop Archive banner

The British Pop Archive

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

Why Manchester?

Manchester's vibrant cultural scene is a global symbol of innovation, creativity and social progress. This history, rooted particularly within music, TV and the arts, distinguishes the city as unique. It makes it the perfect setting for a collection that preserves and tells the stories of popular culture on a national scale.

Granada Television offices
Granada Television, offices, courtesy Manchester Libraries, Information and Archives, m06286 791.41, 1960 H. Milligan

The Collection

The collection comprises major archives of individuals and organisations involved in British popular culture and the creative industries: from the business records of managers and TV companies to the personal papers of iconic artists and photographers, to the recorded experiences of audiences and fans.

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

Anthony Wilson archive

The personal archive of Anthony Wilson (1950-2007), also known as Tony Wilson, 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’s 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 (1953-99), 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 (b. 1953), known especially for his work with rock bands and musicians.

Bob Dickinson archive

The personal archives of the cultural journalist Bob Dickinson (b. 1955).

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.

C P Lee archive

The personal archives of the musician, writer and educator C P Lee (1950-2020), described as the scaffolding that the Manchester music scene was built on.

Norman Frisby archive

Materials from the archive of Norman Frisby (1928-2022), the Granada TV Press officer from 1959 - 1988.

Stephen Kelly and Judith Jones archive

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

'Excavating the Reno' archive

Objects excavated from the site of the legendary Moss Side club. The archive also includes documentation, reports and information and subsequent exhibition and promotional materials. 

Linda Brogan archive

Working materials, scripts, plays and correspondence by the Manchester based writer and playwright. 

Pete Shelley archive

Materials covering the careers of the Buzzcocks co-founder, lead singer and songwriter.

Ray Fitzwalter archive

The archive of the journalist, writer and Bafta winning Granada TV editor. Noted for his work on the current affairs programme 'World in Action'. 

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.  

Associated collections

There are further pre-existing archives and materials held within the Library's Special Collections that share common ground and connect with the British Pop Archive and may also be of interest. 

Please contact the Special Collections and Services team for more information or links to the relevant department curators. 

  • Delia Derbyshire archive (music)
  • Mark Warner collection (photography)
  • Martin Parr collection (photography)
  • Li Yuan-chia artworks and photography (counter-culture)
  • Jeff Nuttall papers (Counter-culture)
  • Dave Cunliffe collection (counter-culture)
  • Dom Sylvester Houébard (dsh) archive (counter-culture)
  • Robert Banks papers (counter-culture)
  • Jim Burns collection (counter-culture)
  • Dick Wilcocks collection (counter-culture)
  • Priscilla Staples (Beecham) papers (counter-culture)
  • Portrait of a Living Archive - 2013 photography work which explored the connection between our archives and 'living' writers and artists through portraiture. 
  • Popular music maps (maps collections)
  • 'There is a Light that Never Goes Out' - An exhibition by Rock Archive (photography)