Lancashire jukebox project awarded National Lottery grant

Jukeboxes, which produced the soundtrack to teenage lives in the Fifties and Sixties, will be celebrated with exciting events on Lancashire’s seaside coast, thanks to a £50,904 grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
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Blackpool and Lytham St Annes were the birthplace of the distinctive British jukebox and the story of the important role it played in teen culture will be told by award-winning Lancashire-based arts and heritage charity – Mirador – and Lancaster University Library.

Jukebox: The Teenage Revolution, made possible by National Lottery players, 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.

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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.

A young Cliff Richard with guitarist Burt Weedon and jukebox sales manager, Mike Town.A young Cliff Richard with guitarist Burt Weedon and jukebox sales manager, Mike Town.
A young Cliff Richard with guitarist Burt Weedon and jukebox sales manager, Mike Town.

Mirador founding member, George Harris. said: “Thanks to National Lottery players, we aim to make this project hugely enjoyable, surprising, relevant and memorable for everyone taking part.

“After all, jukeboxes and the places they flourished in, such as cafés and milk bars, offered escapism from routine, the humdrum of daily life and adult supervision.”

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

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Lancaster University Library, winners of the prestigious Outstanding Library Team trophy at the 2022 Times Higher Education Awards, will establish an archive to ensure the project has a lasting legacy.

Jukebox memories are needed for a new heritage project.Jukebox memories are needed for a new heritage project.
Jukebox memories are needed for a new heritage project.

Andrew Barker, director of Lancaster University’s Library Services, said: "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.

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, the famous band leader and impresario, who played an important role in bringing the jukebox to the UK.

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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.

Jukebox: The Teenage Revolution begins this spring with events taking place throughout the year in Lytham St Annes, Blackpool, Morecambe and Lancaster University Library.

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