John Peel’s record collection to stay within family

The vast collection will not be going to the British Library

John Peel’s record collection is to stay within the family, putting an end to speculation that the vast catalogue would go to the British Library.

The late DJ’s widow Sheila Ravenscroft has said that the records “are John” and that it would be “just awful” to part with them.

She explained: “At the moment, I’ve no intention of doing anything with his records. The records here are John and I can’t imagine how we all would feel if, for whatever reason, they were suddenly removed from us. It would be just awful.


“At the moment, it makes us feel rather good that they’re all here. And we play them.”

However, Ravenscroft told the BBC World Service that there would be a day when the family would have to give them up.

She said: “I’ve got to be realistic and I know that there will be some period when we’ve got to say ‘Come on, be sensible’, because there’s no way we can play them all or appreciate them all. But it won’t be happening yet.”

Peel’s record collection is estimated to include around 26,000 vinyl LPs, 40,000 singles and 40,000 CDs.

The first anniversary of Peel’s death is on October 25 and his autobiography, ‘Margrave Of The Marshes’, has just been published in the UK.

The book was completed by his widow and their four children as Peel had only written part of it at the time of his death.


Ravenscroft said that the process was “rather nice and rather comforting,” adding: “There were times when we all felt it was absolutely wonderful for us to be doing it. We were almost worried about how we were going to feel when it was finished because it was almost going to be like letting go.”

She said that it was also “extremely upsetting” at times, explaining: “All it took was for one of us to stop and think seriously about what it was we were doing, and more importantly why it was we were having to do it, that we’d all get incredibly sad.”

The family gave each other homework of reading diaries and old magazine articles, Ravenscroft said. “Then every few weeks we’d all get back together again round the kitchen table.”

‘Margrave Of The Marshes’ documents Peel’s life, including lesser-known episodes such as his sexual abuse at public school and his encounters with future US presidents John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon.