Manchester Histories Festival

Remembering Strawberry Studios

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Remembering Strawberry Studios

Friday January 27th will see the launch of a major exhibition at Stockport Story Museum commemorating the history of the iconic Strawberry Recording Studios, founded fifty years ago in 1967 by Peter Tattersall.

Strawberry became one of the first professional recording studios outside of London and was home to the four Manchester musicians who would eventually form the pop group 10cc in 1972. All of 10cc’s albums and hit singles up to 1976, including the worldwide hit I’m Not In Love, were recorded in Stockport and, as a result of the band’s success, Strawberry developed a technical opulence unmatched in the region. Strawberry became so successful in this era, that 10cc found themselves unable to book time in their own studio and they were forced to build a new Strawberry Studios, in the South of England.

However, Strawberry in Stockport went from strength to strength and continued Strawberry 50 Exhibition to provide facilities for a wide variety of bands into the 1980s. It was particularly handy for the new generation of bands who were part of the emerging Manchester music scene of the mid-1970s onwards. Bands on the Factory Records label were regular visitors to Stockport, with Factory producer Martin Hannett particularly attracted to the sound produced in the 19th Century industrial building that housed Strawberry.  Unfortunately, the volatility associated with the emergence of digital sound saw Strawberry lose its way in the early 1990s and the Studio closed in 1993, after a quarter of a century of sound recording in Stockport.

Whilst Manchester’s musical legacy is famous throughout the world, Strawberry’s role is less well-known and the history and legacy of the Studio had been largely ignored until Peter Wadsworth started researching the Studio for a PhD at the University of Manchester (awarded in 2007). This renewed interest led to the Strawberry building receiving a blue plaque in 2007 (updated in 2016 to tie-in with the 50th anniversary celebrations), and the current building owners reinstating the 1980s signage on the outside of the building. Manchester Histories Festival also helped with a series of memory-collecting events in 2014 and this exhibition is the culmination of a number of years’ work in bringing together a variety of items relating to Strawberry’s history.

Strawberry Studios: I Am In Love explores Strawberry’s rich heritage, commemorating 50 years since the Studio first opened welcoming an array of artists, including the likes of 10cc, Joy Division, Neil Sedaka, Paul McCartney, The Smiths, Sad Café, Simply Red, The Syd Lawrence Orchestra and The Stone Roses through its doors.

Strawberry Blue Plaque      Strawberry Blue Plaque (1)

(above) The original blue plaque being removed in 2016 and the new blue plaque prior to installation (Photos: Peter Wadsworth)

Strawberry new signage

(left) Retro signage, fitted by building owners (Mondiale) in 2016 (Photo: Peter Wadsworth)

Strawberry at MHF(above/right) Promoting Strawberry’s history at the

2016 Manchester Histories Festival Celebration Day at Manchester Town Hall (photo: Peter Wadsworth)

Fuse and the Small Blonde

(above) Fuse and the Small Blonde perform at the Seven Miles Out fundraiser Strawberry-themed concert in March 2016 at the Stockport Plaza (Photo: Peter Wadsworth)

Strawberry in 1973

(above) Strawberry in 1973 (Photo: Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council)

(right) The classic 10cc single I’m Not In Love,10cc single I’m Not In Love

recorded in Strawberry in 1975 (Photo: Peter Wadsworth)

(below) Manchester City visited Strawberry in 1972 to record Boys in Blue (Photo: Peter Wadsworth)

Boys in Blue

(below) 10cc’s Eric Stewart in Strawberry in 1970 (Photo: Courtesy of Eric Stewart)

Eric Stewart

The exhibition continues at Stockport Story Museum from 27 Jan 2017 to 28 Jan 2018.

Guest blog by historian Peter Wadsworth

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