"W" from Band on the Wall music venue sign, installed on the building in about 1980 and in situ until refurbishment of the venue in 2004.
This bright yellow signage lit up Swan Street and signalled the venue to gig-goers and passersby for over 20 years. The sign's head motif represents African American jazz trumpeter and composer Dizzy Gillespie, who was a major influence in the development of modern jazz.
Band on the Wall is one of Manchester’s oldest music venues. It has hosted live music since the early decades of the 19th century when it was known as the George and Dragon pub and sat at the heart of industrial Manchester’s market district.
The venue got its name from the small stage that was high up on the wall which musicians used to perform on from the late 1930s. In the 1970s, Band on the Wall hosted performers from Manchester’s emerging punk rock scene, including the Fall, the Buzzcocks and Joy Division.
From the early 1980s, the venue diversified from being predominantly a jazz club into hosting reggae, folk, Asian, African and Latin American acts, including performers from Manchester’s diverse migrant communities.
Now a registered charity, Band on the Wall remains a cornerstone of Manchester’s music scene.