John Peel’s record collection to be made available as online museum

The legendary DJ’s huge archive will form part of an Arts Council and BBC-funded project

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Twenty-five thousand LPs, 40,000 singles and thousands of CDs from the collection of DJ John Peel are to become the musical exhibits of an interactive online museum.

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Peel was known for his wildly eclectic taste and as an unsurpassed champion of new music. He died of a heart attack, aged 65, in 2004, after more than three decades at the BBC. 

Peel’s collection will form part of The Space, an experimental online service funded by the Arts Council and with support and development advice from the BBC.

Tom Barker, the director of the John Peel Centre for Creative Arts, said: “It is the first step in creating an interactive online museum with access to the entire collection, one of the most important archives in modern music history.”

Frank Prendergast of collaborators Eye Film and Television said: “The idea is to digitally re-create John’s home studio and record collection, which users will be able to interact with and contribute to, while viewing Peel’s personal notes, archive performances and new filmed interviews with musicians.”

Peel’s widow, Sheila Ravenscroft, added: “We’re very happy that we’ve finally found a way to make John’s amazing collection available to his fans, as he would have wanted. This project is only the beginning of something very exciting.”

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The Space will run from May to October on a variety of digital devices including PCs and smartphones and will also be available as a BBC red button service via Freeview HD.