Pompey Pop

A case study of a local music archive

  • Dave Allen University of Portsmouth
Keywords: music archive, Portsmouth music, local history


This article provides a retrospective account of the author's long-time involvement with 'PompeyPop', a project uncovering the somewhat neglected history of the impact of popular music inPortsmouth. The article demonstrates how the dedication of the author, a retired employeeof Portsmouth University, to this community initiative has established the importance of popularmusic to this working-class city and, most importantly, how it has challenged notionsof 'mainstream' history. After describing the growth of light entertainment in post-SecondWorld War Portsmouth, it challenges a number of preconceptions, ranging from notions ofnew styles 'sweeping away' their predecessors, to tokenized histories of the post-war periodalways being 'depressed', to notions of the swinging sixties being centred exclusively in certainparts of London. Regarding the latter, the article outlines a methodological problem, wherewriters such as Dominic Sandbrook are regarded as focusing exclusively on archival research, asopposed to also including the oral histories of ordinary people who lived through the period.

Author Biography

Dave Allen, University of Portsmouth

Dr Dave Allen was briefly a professional pop musician beforeresuming his studies in visual arts and arts education. He taughtin schools, and subsequently at the University of Portsmouth,while continuing to perform as a semi-professional musician.Towards the end of his career he taught and wrote aboutpopular music, particularly around its history in his home city.He retired in 2010 and is a Visiting Teaching Fellow. He still playsin two bands.


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How to Cite
Allen, D. (2020). Pompey Pop. Popular Music History, 12(1), 15-34. https://doi.org/10.1558/pomh.39553