British Music Experience signs to Cunard

The music history museum has agreed a lease on the 16,000 sq ft Departure Lounge within Liverpool City Council’s Cunard Building, and is due to open next year.

The British Music Experience has been based in London’s O2 for the past five years. The attraction at the Cunard will display more than 600 music heritage archive items.

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The installation of the museum is being partly funded by a £2.6m Regional Growth Fund allocation.

A procurement process is underway to secure an operator to run the museum alongside the Trust. The admission price for the tickets is to be decided in the forthcoming months.

The collection of artefacts and memorabilia includes some of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust costumes and the original handwritten lyrics to ‘Blue Monday’ by New Order. The museum will feature exhibitions on the impact British music has had on culture, fashion, art and politics.

The museum is due to open in Easter 2016.

The British Music Experience is a registered not-for-profit charity with the purpose of advancing the education and appreciation of the art, history and science of music in Britain. The BME is managed by an independent board of trustees, chaired by Harvey Goldsmith.

The council recently relocated staff from Millennium House and The Capital to the upper floors of Cunard. Around 120,000 sq ft of vacant office space remains within the 285,000 sq ft building.

Living Ventures is set to bring restaurant concepts Australasia and Cunard House to the ground and first floor of the building by September 2016.

The council paid around £10m to buy the Cunard’s long leasehold from Merseyside Pension Fund, completing the deal in March 2014.

Joe Anderson, Mayor of Liverpool, said: “This is a fantastic addition to the city’s existing attractions and it makes perfect sense that a museum which celebrates the importance of British music and its influence on society, has its home in Liverpool.

“Music is inherent here and is entwined with the city’s history, present and future. The Cunard building itself played a vital role in shaping the industry thanks to the music that travelled across the Atlantic by those travelling on the Cunard Vessels. This music then immersed itself in our culture and influenced many aspiring musicians, including four young men who wanted to perform their own rock ‘n’ roll and then went on to become the most famous band in the world.”

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Liverpool City Council is right to build up and develop its strategic assets in this way. Tourism is as a major economic force in the city that helps drive it forward. The potential is endless with music, maritime history, architecture and the great city riverscape that stretches for about 20 miles around two river estuaries and Liverpool Bay. Liverpool is already the north’s flagship tourism city and it is likely to become the the flagship toursim city of the Northern Powerhouse. In this way Liverpool will not only balance Manchester but will prove a major asset for the North as a whole in the longer term.

By Paul Blackburn