Manchester to open "Pop Archive" featuring Ian Curtis's hand-written Joy Division lyrics

7 April 2022, 12:19 | Updated: 7 April 2022, 12:21

Ian Curtis of Joy Division and other Manchester memorabilia
Ian Curtis of Joy Division and other Manchester memorabilia. Picture: Chris Mills/Redferns/Getty Images/Ralf Liebhold/David Crausby/Alamy Stock Photo

The new collection at John Rylands Library will include items relating to The Smiths, the Sex Pistols, New Order and more.

A collection of rare music memorabilia is to open in Manchester, which will feature items belonging to members of Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths and more.

The John Rylands Research Institute and Library has announced a "first of its kind" national collection at The University of Manchester, which is set to open its doors on 19th May and will run until 15th January 2023.

British Pop Archive

The collection will include Ian Curtis' handwritten lyrics to Joy Division classics such as She's Lost Control and Atmosphere, plus their manager Rob Gretton's "original written vision for the band.

Also included will be original posters for Sex Pistols' legendary gigs at The Lesser Free Trade Hall, Manchester and important works by designer Peter Saville that set the visual template for Factory Records.

The archive of New Order manager Rob Gretton will be part of the collection
The archive of New Order manager Rob Gretton will be part of the collection. Picture: Peter J Walsh/PYMCA/Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The British Pop Archive will launch with an exhibition called Collection, a that will display artefacts from the city's cultural landscape such as the iconic Manchester-based soap Coronation Street and famous musicians from the city.

Professor Christopher Pressler, Director of The University of Manchester Library, said: “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.”

For more details about the British Pop Archive, visit

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