City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

From the Hallé to Madchester

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A few years back, Sheffield chanced its lottery-strengthened arm by building a National Museum for Popular Music. A fabulist building by Nigel Coates and Sheffield’s heritage of Cabaret Voltaire, Heaven 17, Human League, ABC, and Pulp notwithstanding, the project failed miserably. When I visited my old hometown a month or so ago the building lay largely empty, its steel drums brooding within the otherwise vibrant cultural industries quarter, only seemingly used as an overflow from the nearby student union.

Now another former hometown of mine is trying the same thing, although with an arguably greater claim to musical legends Manchester’s museum won’t try to represent the nation’s music, but its own:

"The museum will mark the city’s place as a classical music mecca in the 1860s, show off relics from its 250 1960s beat clubs (more than any other city in the world, including Liverpool), its thriving 1940s jazz scene and – perhaps the finest of all – the Madchester days of the Happy Mondays, New Order and Factory Records."

The Independent: From classics to Madchester, museum marks city’s heritage


2 responses to “From the Hallé to Madchester”

  1. Lee Avatar

    Ah, the late 70’s and onwards. Glory days indeed!


  2. Louise Oldfield Avatar
    Louise Oldfield

    It’s a shame that the Centre for Popular Music didn’t focus on the wealth of homegrown talent instead of alienating them. If I remember rightly a band set fire to the dressing room in the opening week out of protest. As an ex-Sheffielder now living in the so called Cultural Quarter of Hackney, East London, I can testify that many residents are as disappointed of another lottery fund black hole: The Ocean Music Centre. While local artists and musicians struggle for studio space, the £29m venue offers little back to the community in return.


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