Peel music collection going online

Music fans will be able to rifle through the contents of John Peel's record collection as the late DJ's huge archive begins to be opened to the public.

The Radio 1 presenter - who died in 2004 - amassed a colossal treasure trove of vinyl during his four decades as a champion of new music.

His collection is now being placed online with details of 100 albums being added in alphabetical order each week over the coming months as part of a digital arts project.

At one stage there was talk of Peel's collection being saved for the nation to give the public access to his records through the National Sound Archive.

But now it will be opened up through an online project The Space, which is being launched by Arts Council England and the BBC.

The first batch of albums - with artists beginning with the letter A - is being placed online.

The list begins with Mike Absalom, who has called Peel "the musical Maypole around which we all danced".

Creators of the site say it will allow visitors to browse through the records and the DJ's index cards as well as letting them view personal notes, home movies - including footage from his 50th birthday - and archive performances.

Peel amassed more than 25,000 vinyl albums and 100 will be added weekly until October.

His widow, Sheila Ravenscroft, said: "We're very happy that we've finally found a way to make John's amazing collection available to his fans, as he would have wanted. This project is only the beginning of something very exciting." It can be seen at thespace.org.