John Peel's record legacy

BROADCASTING legend John Peel had considered passing his vast record recollection to the British Library, it has emerged.Informal talks had taken place before his sudden death last week, which shocked the music world.

BROADCASTING legend John Peel had considered passing his vast record recollection to the British Library, it has emerged.

Informal talks had taken place before his sudden death last week, which shocked the music world.

But a spokesman for the British Library stressed last night the talks had only been at an early stage and the matter would now be left with Mr Peel's family.

"Nothing formal was arranged," he said. "We had some informal discussions over the years but talks did not progress beyond that.

"We would much rather wait to get guidance from his family until we make any final decisions. I'm sure the last thing on their mind is what to do with his record collection.

"Obviously we would be delighted to consider it but we prefer to wait for the family and then go from there. We will keep everyone posted when we know what we will be doing."

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The Radio 1 DJ, who lived at Great Finborough near Stowmarket, amassed an unrivalled array of vinyl, CDs and tapes from around the world during his four decades in the music business.

It would be the biggest and most important batch of material ever deposited with the National Sound Archive, which is held by the British Library.

Mr Peel's wife, Sheila, and other members of the family are still in Peru, where he died of a heart attack while on a working holiday.

They are arranging the return of his body and are expected back in the UK sometime this week.

The Sound Archive, largely housed at the library in St Pancras, London, runs to around 2.5million important recordings.

Unlike the library of print publications there is no legal requirement to deposit material so it relies on donations and acquisitions.

Mr Peel had been a tireless champion of new music since the mid-1960s when he first began broadcasting in the UK as a pirate DJ.

His enthusiasm helped many of the world's biggest bands, including Led Zeppelin, Nirvana and the White Stripes, find an audience during his 37 years at Radio 1.

His death at the age of 65 left the music world in mourning and on Saturday his friend Roger McGough presented a special edition of Home Truths, the Radio 4 series Mr Peel created looking at the quirks and strains of family life.

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