British music history celebrated at Cunard

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The opening of the British Music Experience at the Cunard building. Pic © Sarah Williams / JMU Journalism

The highly anticipated opening of the British Music Experience did not disappoint as it welcomes its first visitors.

The unique exhibition, which takes the public on a journey through the history of British music, has moved to its new home at the Cunard Building after spending five years at the O2 in London.

The BME was created by Live Aid promoter Harvey Goldsmith, who said he felt like the story of British music was not being celebrated.

Speaking at the opening on Thursday, Cath Hurley, marketing manager at the BME, told JMU Journalism: “When the exhibition closed at the O2 in 2014, a new home was wanted somewhere regional outside of London. Tons of cities got in touch all wanting the BME to move there, including Liverpool, and with this city being seen as the original birthplace of British music, a meeting between the council, Harvey and Mayor Joe Anderson took place.

“Harvey was then shown the space here at the Cunard Building and he instantly felt an emotional connection to it, so it was then agreed that Liverpool was the place for the BME to live.”

The Cunard Building also has a significant musical connection to the city, with a phrase ‘the Cunard Yanks’ describing the people who brought music with them over from America to Liverpool, which had a massive influence on bands such as The Beatles.

The exhibition begins in 1945 with the skiffle and jazz era and travels through the decades displaying original costumes, records and other well-preserved memorabilia. From John Lennon’s suit and David Bowie’s ‘Ziggy Stardust’ get ups, to the original lyrics of Blue Monday, and finally the outfits of Honey G.

Cath added: “The trust began gathering artefacts in 2009 and now we have relationships with the V&A, Getty Images and many private lenders. The collection will change and grow over time and it’s really exciting because who knows where British music could go next.”

The British Music Experience is now permanently at the Cunard Building on Liverpool’s waterfront and is open seven days a week.

YouTube: The Guide Liverpool

About Amber Roberts, JMU Journalism