Collection: Launching the British Pop Archive 19 May 2022 – 15 January 2023

Collection: Launching the British Pop Archive

Explore Manchester stories from a new popular culture archive.

19 May 2022 – 4 February 2023

About the exhibition

The British Pop Archive brings together the records and artefacts of UK popular culture, youth culture and counter culture from the post-war period to the present day. These collections represent the architects, players, venues and moments that were instrumental in shaping a lasting cultural legacy.  

To launch the archive, this exhibition includes materials with a Manchester focus from the mid-1960s through to the mid- 2000s. Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene has long been a global symbol of innovation, creativity and social progress. This history, rooted particularly within music, TV and the arts, distinguishes the city as unique. On display are rare and unique items relating to Joy Division, The Smiths, New Order, Granada Television, Factory Records and The Haçienda. 

What's on display

  • See Ian Curtis’ handwritten lyrics for some of Joy Division’s most iconic songs. 
  • Explore scripts, letters and designs revealing Tony Wilson’s vision for Factory Records and his innovative work at Granada TV. 
  • Uncover magazines and fanzines that explore Manchester’s vibrant cultural scene including City Life, Grass Eye and New Manchester Review. 
  • View Johnny Marr's Gretsch Super Axe guitar, used to record some of the early Smiths classic songs.
  • See personal fan and industry artefacts from photographer Kevin Cummins' personal archive.