Funds needed to put more of John Peel’s music archive online

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The project to get the late John Peel’s historic music collection on the web has stalled through lack of funding.

Even though the web design company behind it has continued working on a voluntary basis, the work has slowed to a crawl

The John Peel Archive website's homepage

The John Peel Archive website's homepage

John’s collection at his home in Great Finborough contains an estimated 80,000 items covering music from the 1960s to his death in 2004 on mediums ranging from reel-to-reel tapes sent in by aspiring bands to commercial CDs.

The iconic DJ’s widow Shiela Ravenscroft said yesterday: “We’ve got about 10 per cent of the albums online. It was the first 100 of every letter in the alphabet, but there are still the CDs, 12in singles and seven inch singles, so you can see the enormity of the task.”

The project had been funded by the Arts Council as part of its Space project to make artworks accessible to all.

“The Arts Council is hoping that next year they might be able to continue with it,” she said. “We have still been adding to it because the people who work on it love working on it. But people can’t work for fresh air.”

James Leeds, of the Norwich based web design company Klik, said: “It costs about £1.50 per record to photograph and catalogue it but there’s 80,000 items so that mounts up.”

The site, which has attracted more than 300,000 visits, links many albums to existing online music providers who have rights deals with main record labels.

But James added:”About half the records we’ve done are on Spotify, iTunes and so on, but the rest are from small labels that have long since gone.

“It is heritage — it’s a chronological history of music at a very important time. More than that, it’s the collection that made a lot of these artists, and even genres, come to public significance. For example, his copy of Interstellar Overdrive by Pink Floyd is the first anyone ever heard.”

Shiela said she plans a meeting between the family and everyone involved to discuss what to do next.

The website is at