(Originally published on Quays News, March 21, 2017)
THE MUSEUM of Science and Industry in Castlefield is hosting the Factory Communications Limited Archive, a collection of insights into both sides of the legendary Factory empire.
The Museum of Science and Industry in Castlefield is hosting the Factory Communications Limited Archive, a collection of insights into both sides of the legendary Factory empire.
Factory Records, the label who discovered bands like Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays and the team responsible for the iconic Hacienda club and Dry Bar, had a turbulent history resulting in bankruptcy and closure in 1992.
Factory Records are remembered fondly by many Mancunians in an era often propelled into a state of mythology, and now those wanting to indulge in some local history can do just that at the Museum of Science and Industry.
The archive contains a wealth of objects and interesting documents, including the original club night posters, Peter Saville’s sketches, press releases, the label’s correspondents with bands, guest list books and records of DJ’s song choices on club nights.
These have been acquired by the museum through donations from Factory partners including Rob Gretton, Tosh Ryan as well as David Vincent and Andy Spiro, who set up Sankeys Soap, which took a lot of kit from the Hacienda after its closure.
Archives manager Jan Hicks said: “The collection is about seeing how a bunch of friends decided that they wanted to do something that was different and tried their best to keep it different. It’s not just about the records and club nights that we as consumers remember.”
The collection offers a window into the life of Factory and those who were welcomed into the family.
Described as a “well kept secret”, the collection has proven to be popular, with interest from all over the world. “We’ve had researchers from Australia, America and across Europe, because Factory Records was so far reaching.”
Jan explained why the archive hasn’t been developed into an exhibition at the museum. She said: “The company didn’t own anything, so none of the rights could be transferred to us. Archive material also tends to be light sensitive, so they can only be displayed for a short period of time. More people can access the collection through the archive.”
“We’re interested in developing the collection, we’ve taken in personal memorabilia from people, such as a band night flyer from the Hacienda.
Jan insisted: “Visitors don’t have to be doing academic work or research, you just have to have an interest in Manchester’s cultural history.”
The archive will now remain at the museum, and is available to view by appointment through the museum’s website.