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Monday, October 18, 1999 Published at 17:17 GMT 18:17 UK


Entertainment

Debts rock pop museum

The National Centre for Popular Music cannot pay its debts

The £15m National Centre for Popular Music has engaged the services of insolvency experts to help save the cash-strapped attraction just seven months after it opened.


Sheffield pop museum in trouble
The Sheffield museum, celebrating the culture and history of pop music, had expected to welcome 400,000 visitors each year.

Only 104,000 have passed through the centre's doors since it was unveiled to mixed reviews in March.


[ image: Pulp's Jarvis Cocker: Part of Sheffield's rich pop history]
Pulp's Jarvis Cocker: Part of Sheffield's rich pop history
The struggling venture, which won a National Lottery grant of some £11m, is unable to pay its debts - making it technically insolvent.

The companies behind the centre, Music Heritage Ltd and Music Heritage Enterprises Ltd, have handed over its running to insolvency practitioners PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The attraction will stay open as usual, while creditors consider a compromise proposal to ease the financial crisis and give the centre a fresh start.

If an agreement is not reached at a meeting scheduled for 2 November, the business will be forced into liquidation.

The centre's disappointing visitor figures have already seen 16 of its 79 jobs axed, with a new director brought in last month to improve attendance.


[ image: Nice design, shame about the contents, say critics]
Nice design, shame about the contents, say critics
Sheffield, the home of such pop icons as Pulp, Joe Cocker and Def Leppard, lobbied hard for the centre - beating off rival bids by Liverpool and London.

Although the museum's strikingly futuristic exterior - designed by architect Nigel Coates - won acclaim, critics were less unimpressed by its contents.

The centre's 'hands-on' approach, which encourages visitors to pick up instruments or make their own pop videos, was said to be 'limited'.

The lack of rock memorabilia was also a source of disappointment.



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