Entertainment & Arts

Honey G joins Beatles and Bowie as British pop museum is reborn

Honey G & outfit at British Music Experience Image copyright BBC/ITV/Rex/Shutterstock
Image caption Honey G's studded cap and jacket are on show in the British Music Experience

A museum celebrating British rock and pop history has moved to Liverpool after failing to take off in London.

The British Music Experience was at the O2 Arena for five years until 2014, and has now been reborn in the grand Cunard Building on Liverpool's waterfront.

It is exhibiting several iconic items from British pop history.

There are three of David Bowie's Ziggy Stardust outfits, a suit worn by John Lennon, Geri Halliwell's Union Jack dress... and Honey G's baseball cap.

Harvey Goldsmith, the gig promoter and museum chairman, said outfits from Honey G and other X Factor contestants were relevant "whether you like it or not".

"I don't think we've particularly singled out Honey G, but it's just to show the range of what we've got," he said.

"It's a difficult judgement call because we want to be an all-inclusive exhibition that tells the history of how music morphed from the beginning all the way through until today. And that's what it is today."

Image copyright British Music Experience
Image caption The museum takes up Cunard's former second class lounge

The British Music Experience features memorabilia and footage from almost every major artist and musical movement since World War Two.

There is skiffle pioneer Lonnie Donegan's banjo, a snakeskin suit worn by The Rolling Stones' Bill Wyman, Marc Bolan's feather boa, a silk suit from Duran Duran and Noel Gallagher's Union Jack guitar.

The Beatles are represented in their home city with suits, merchandise and the graffiti-covered door from the headquarters of their record label Apple Corps.

Goldsmith is hoping the museum will appeal to the hundreds of thousands of fans who already make the pilgrimage every year to the Cavern Club, Beatles Story and Liverpool's other music-related locations.

Image caption A display is dedicated to David Bowie
Image caption The Spice Girls have lent a set of dresses

"I don't know why we didn't come here in the beginning," he said. "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."

At the O2, the British Music Experience struggled to attract more than 100,000 visitors per year and its backer AEG, which owns the arena, wrote off the museum's £16.4m deficit after it closed.

The relaunched museum opens on Thursday, with tickets costing £16 per adult.

As well as having a prominent position near other attractions on the River Mersey, its new home - the Cunard Building - played its own part in British music history.

Post-war seamen known as Cunard Yanks travelled to New York from Liverpool on Cunard ships and returned with American blues and rock 'n' roll records that went on to influence The Beatles and other budding British stars.


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