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Celebration of Fifties and Sixties music heading to Lancaster and Morecambe after £50k boost for jukebox project

A young Cliff Richard pictured with guitarist, Burt Weedon and jukebox sales manager, Mike Town. Photo courtesy of Paul Walker and ditchburn.co.uk

Events celebrating the history of the jukebox are coming to Lancaster and Morecambe after a project celebrating '50s and '60s' music received a £50,000 boost.

The Lancashire Jukebox Project has been awarded a £50,904 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

As part of the project, 'Jukebox: The Teenage Revolution' will be coming to the North West later this year, including Lancaster and Morecambe.

It will feature fun, artistic, heritage and participatory events, a touring exhibition and unique displays reflecting on the boom in youth culture during the 1950s and 1960s, including the rise of coffee and milk bars and 45rpm vinyl records.

The project will also capture the voices, views and memories of people who lived through this key period of social change and will celebrate their life and times when they were free to explore their own tastes in music, fashion and styles.

An archive will be set up at Lancaster University Library to ensure the project has a lasting legacy.

Memories of this momentous era from people now in their 70s and 80s, will be recorded by Lancaster University students during the intergenerational part of the project.

"We are delighted to be part of this project that will tell the story of how young people in our region contributed to a culture change that still resonates through the decades," said Andrew Barker, director of Lancaster University's Library Services.

"It's vital we capture the voices of our communities to share with future students and the public. Lancaster and the region played a major role in popular culture in the 20th Century whether via our seaside resorts and Winter Gardens or through the many gigs that played in our Great Hall."

Lancaster University is also home to the Jack Hylton archive, named after the famous band leader and impresario, who played an important role in bringing the jukebox to the UK and who also helped discover Eric Morecambe.

The history of jukeboxes is relatively undiscovered, yet in the Fifties, the British jukebox industry, based largely in Blackpool and Lytham, flourished. 

They were produced by the Ditchburn Equipment company who are celebrated at the Ditchburn Jukebox Museum in St Annes.  Closed since the pandemic, the project will provide opportunities for the public to access this unique heritage attraction for the first time.

The project is being run by Mirador, a Lancashire-based arts and heritage charity, in partnership with Lancaster University Library.

If you have memories of being a teenager in the Fifties and Sixties or photographs from that era, please contact Mirador here. 

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