Apologies for the month-long gap in my posts. Apart from a post to Donald Dump News, this is my first blog post since 6 February. I have been in hospital with pneumonia and, although now back home and recovering, I have not been in the mood for posting.
After a five-year spell at the O2 Arena in London, which ended in 2014 with closure and £16 million in debts being written off by the Arena’s owners AEG, the British Music Experience national pop museum is re-launched today in Liverpool. The museum is now located in the former Second Class passenger lounge in the Cunard Building at Liverpool’s Pier Head. The building (pictured below left) was the former home of the Cunard shipping company and is now owned by Liverpool City Council. it is one of the so-called Three Graces at the Pier Head (pictured below right) – three magnificent buildings built a century ago. The Cunard Building sits in the middle of the Liver Building and the Port Authority Building. These three iconic buildings, which for generations have been a symbol of Liverpool and a welcoming sight for returning sailors coming up the River Mersey, form the heart of the World Heritage Status granted to Liverpool’s waterfront and parts of its city centre
In Liverpool the museum will have a proud home in a prominent and magnificent iconic building at the heart of the city’s city centre, which spreads out from the waterfront and the Pier Head. It is also within walking distance of Matthew Street, the home of The Cavern and “ the birthplace of The Beatles”. The music promoter Harvey Goldsmith thinks the move to Liverpool is a positive one and that that the museum is a good fit for the city, which he described as “the home of British music.” Liverpool boasts more Number One chart singles than any other British city, and Goldsmith feels the museum will naturally be popular with the hundreds of thousands who visit Liverpool to experience the history of The Beatles. He said:
“I don’t know why we didn’t come here in the beginning […] There’s more of an emotional tie with music in Liverpool than there is in London. Liverpool is the home of British music.
“To be honest, where we were in London at the O2, we were lost, even though we had pretty good crowds coming.
“But we were a bit of an also-ran, stuck on the second floor at the back of the O2. I think being up here, we’re a focal point, we’re a feature, and not everything that goes on in life has to happen in London.”
The location of the museum in the Cunard Building is also significant as this building played its own role in the history of Liverpool and British music as it was through this building that many Americans and others coming to Britain from the States and around the world arrived, bringing with them their music. The American influence in particular was vital in the development of The Beatles and other bands in post-war Liverpool. They would hear the blues and rock ‘n’ roll records brought in by Yank sailors and, as they say, the rest is history.
The museum features displays covering the spectrum of British music since World War Two from Skiffle, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, through Bowie, Glam Rock, Punk, New Romantics and Britpop, to the Spice Girls, Honey G and X-Factor. There is a special display about David Bowie, featuring three of his ZIggy Stardust outfits. Other items in the exhibition include…
- an outfit worn by John Lennon;
- Geri Halliwell’s Union Jack dress;
- Lonnie Donnegan’s bango;
- a snakeskin suit worn by Bill Wyman of The Rolling Stones;
- Marc Bolan’s feather boa;
- a silk suit owned by Duran Duran;
- Noel Gallagher’s Union Jack guitar;
- suits and other memorabilia belonging to The Beatles;
- and a graffiti-covered door from The Beatles Apple Corps headquarters.
The pay-to-enter museum (£16 for adults) opens today. You can visit the official website, where you can book tickets, HERE.