The items were donated to the museum by the band and include a newspaper print suit worn in the music video for the 1986 single (Waiting for) The Ghost Train; a saxophone played by Lee Thompson and his flag kilt costume that he wore at the London Olympics closing ceremony; published sheet music for hits including Baggy Trousers; the complete run of the Madness comic Nutty Boys; a typescript for Our House – the Madness Musical; and posters, badges and tour t-shirts.
The collection is now part of an exhibition in the V&A’s theatre and performance galleries.
Simon Sladen, senior curator of modern and contemporary performance at the V&A, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome the Nutty Boys to the our Theatre and Performance Collections. Madness’s influences are as varied as our collections themselves, from Music Hall to Variety, Ska to Two-Tone, with their impressive career encompassing not only a film and chart-topping singles and albums, but also inspiring a stage musical.”
The band formed in Camden Town in 1976 and achieved global success with 15 top-10 singles, 12 studio albums, a film and a musical.