Edith’s Choice: 15 years of the Jerwood Library

Display cabinet containing items related to the official opening of the Jerwood Library in 2002 (programme, invitiation, photos and a poem read at the event)

Library display commemorating fifteen years of the Jerwood Library

15 years ago today on 9 January 2002, the official opening of the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts took place, which makes the library officially fifteen years old today. I’ve chosen to highlight this anniversary with a small display in the library this month.

I spoke about the library’s move to Greenwich with Walter Cardew, the only current member of library staff to have worked in both the TCM Library and the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts, and David Butler, who now works in the Jerwood Library but in 2002 was studying for a BMus at Trinity College of Music (now Faculty of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance).

What was it like moving the whole library to Greenwich?

Walter: When I started here in Nov 2000 we knew the move was coming, and things kicked off in earnest when a new head librarian Rosemary Williamson started in 2001. We visited King Charles Court to see the space the library would be in and got an opportunity to explore the building including the attic spaces and even going out on the roof. Everyone was fascinated by the exposed wooden roof beams. I’ve heard various stories about their origins, including that they were timbers retrieved from sunk Spanish Armada ships, though I’m not sure that holds up to scrutiny…

Rosemary gave me the task of planning how the library stock would be packed and then organised in the new space. I had to plan in great detail and I devised an enormous spreadsheet mapping every single shelf in the old library to a specific shelf in the new library.

How did the new library compare to the old one?

David: Like King Charles Court as a whole, the new library was a lot more accessible for the students than the old one. The old building was a complete rabbit warren and the library was across three floors. The sequence of shelves didn’t feel logical, but the Jerwood Library has the whole collection in one space and all in sequence. I remember the old library having a few computers in the basement which were always busy and not the easiest place to study. I definitely used the library more after the move!

Walter: Because of the three floors staff had to put returned items for shelving in boxes and carry them up and down stairs so we were glad to move to one level. It also made it much easier for students to borrow items and get help from us as we weren’t tucked away on the top floor. The new library had closed stacks for our growing special collections including the Almeida Collection which we’d recently acquired and was a big addition to the library. 

The old buildings in central London were cramped and had been added to piecemeal as the institution grew. There were even some staff offices that could only be accessed from the rest of the site via a rooftop walkway! The move to a single building was unifying and we appreciated having a bit more office space too.

Were you at the official opening?

Walter: Yes, all the library staff were invited. My abiding memory is the actor Timothy West CBE reciting a poem he’d written commemorating Greenwich and the opening, which was very impressive. There was also a commissioned jazz piece performed by Iain Ballamy and others with poetry by Matthew Sweeney.

Representatives from the Jerwood Foundation were there too – the library was renamed the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts when we moved, in honour of the generous grant they made towards setting up the library in Greenwich.

Hawksmoor and Wren, come back
to see your palace now.
Look at its new inside –
this library we are celebrating,
tables where beds were,
the original beams overhead
but with a raised, sunlit ceiling –
all is light now, all light

Excerpt from Black Beams by Matthew Sweeney, commissioned by the Jerwood Foundation for the opening of the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts.

How has the library space changed since 2002?

Walter: The refurbishment was done to a high standard except it turned out no-one had thought about ventilation in the summer months. The library’s skylight windows couldn’t be opened and on a couple of occasions it got so hot we had to close the library completely. Fitting ceiling fans and a remote-controlled mechanism for opening the windows soon fixed that, to everyone’s relief.

David: The computers have shrunk in size and the shelves have filled up quickly! There were lots left empty when the library first opened but now there’s not a lot of free space and we’re squeezing in more shelving wherever we can…

Animated gif showing installation of new shelving in the Jerwood Library, summer 2014

New shelving being installed in the library in summer 2014

Thanks to both Walter and David for sharing their memories of the Jerwood Library’s first year with us.

A display is in the small cabinet in the library showing the programme from the official opening, Timothy West’s poem Ode to Greenwich and other related materials from the TCM Archive, housed at the Jerwood Library.

We’re delighted to have served the students and staff of the Faculty of Music for the last fifteen years and look forward to many more!


Claire’s Choice: on an autumnal theme!


As the mornings grow colder and squirrels are to be seen hoarding conkers for the winter, what better for “Claire’s Choice” than to highlight two songs in the Jerwood Library collection celebrating the venerable chestnut tree.



Written in 1840 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the poem The Village Blacksmith was set to music in 1854 by the English composer and celebrated bass singer Willoughby Weiss. It starts “Under a spreading chestnut tree the village smithy stands…” and continues to describe the blacksmith’s daily life. Weiss offered the copyright of the work to a firm of publishers for the sum of 5 pounds, but when his offer was turned down, he decided to publish it on his own account. As luck would have it, it went on to become a hugely popular Victorian parlour song, earning him and his family a considerable income!


Moving forward into the 20th century, the second song The Chestnut Tree, with words and music by Jimmy Kennedy, Tommie Connor and Hamilton Kennedy, was composed in 1938. This popular novelty song was also inspired by Longfellow’s The Village Blacksmith. However rather than focussing on the virtuous, hard-working, church-going, qualities of the blacksmith, it centres on the blacksmith’s daughter and “the spreading chestnut tree”, the goings-on under which certainly didn’t appear in Longfellow’s poem!

But this was only one aspect of the song. In fact, the writers had been specifically commissioned to come up with something that was going to take dance halls by storm. Indeed the inspiration behind selecting The Village Blacksmith as inspiration came from a photograph of King George VI at a boy scout jamboree in which his, and all the scouts’, hands were held to their heads. Further research unearthed that this was part of a performance in which the scouts recited The Village Blacksmith. With assistance from Adele England (who had choreographed The Lambeth Walk) they devised some steps to go with their song, which are illustrated in the printed edition. It became a huge hit, selling over 10,000 copies per day.

This edition comes from the Jerwood Library’s Rita Williams popular song collection. Rita Williams sang with the Billy Cotton Club, among other groups, and was an avid collector of popular songs. The overall collection comprises some 3000 individual songs dating from Victorian times to the 1970s. It is handlisted here. Do get in touch with us if you’d like to see any other hidden gems in the collection.

Items from the Jerwood library collection:

Weiss, W.H. “The Village Blacksmith”. In The Songs of England, volume 1, edited by J.L. Hatton, 245-249. London: Boosey & Co, 1910

Kennedy, Jimmy, Tommie Connor and Hamilton Kenny, The Chestnut Tree. London: Peter Maurice Music Co, 1938

Trinity College of Music Archive Online

Following many months of dust, sweat, and toil, we are pleased to announce that the archive of the former Trinity College of Music (TCM) has been catalogued online and is now fully accessible to researchers for the first time. Thanks to special funding from Trinity Laban and former principal Derek Aviss, we had six months to sort out a lot of boxes…


These boxes were all held in storage, unlisted, and were therefore inaccessible to researchers. We appraised and arranged all the records in a sensible order before describing them on the Archives Hub. Finally, everything was moved into the library’s closed-access storage area, and re-housed in nice new boxes…


The archive covers the period from the foundation of the college in 1872 to 2005 (when TCM merged with the Laban Dance Centre). Records relating to the administration of local examinations and diplomas are included up until 1992 when Trinity College London was established as a separate company. Materials include minutes of meetings, student records, calendars and prospectuses, photographs, concert programmes, and much more…

20160825_16234620160825_15374820160825_162459 (2)Concert programmes re-housed in archival-standard enclosures

Anyone is welcome to view material from the archive, but please bear in mind that some records are closed in accordance with legal requirements. Please contact us in advance of your visit to make an appointment.

Vivian Joseph Centenary

Today we celebrate the centenary of Vivian Joseph (1916-2005), cellist and former professor at Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music).

TCM 12.7.1 Vivian Joseph 1934

Vivian Joseph in 1934. TCM Archive.

Born in Wales, Vivian Joseph took up the cello aged seven after hearing Lauri Kennedy play. He was soon hailed as a child prodigy, winning numerous awards at competitive festivals. A prize-winning studentship at the Royal Academy of Music followed, and in the late 1930s Joseph gave several critically-acclaimed recitals at the Wigmore Hall.

Master Joseph [12], not only carried off the prize for ‘cello playing in his own class … but also in the class for competitors under seventeen, and the senior class. [1]

During the Second World War Joseph enlisted in the army. He rose to become 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Ulster Rifles before being wounded in action in North Africa in 1944.

1944 on crutches

Vivian Joseph in uniform and on crutches after being wounded in action [1944]. TCM Archive.

After a lengthy rehabilitation, Joseph resumed his performing career, becoming a noted chamber musician. Among other groups, he was a member of the London Piano Quartet, the Park Lane Ensemble, and the Dumka Piano Trio. With the London String Trio he gave the European première of Schoenberg’s String Trio (the first performance was at Harvard, Massachusetts).

From 1953 Joseph taught cello and chamber music at Trinity College of Music and was awarded an honorary fellowship in 1965. In 1997 he generously funded a series of prizes to be awarded to college string students.[2] He also taught at the Royal Academy of Music. Joseph died in 2005 and his obituary was published in the Guardian.

In the archives we hold a file relating to Vivian Joseph which includes photographs, a scrapbook and concert programmes. Please get in touch if you would like to see the material.

[1] ‘Boy Prodigies’, Nottingham Evening Post, 11 April 1929.

[2] Trinity College of Music, Magazine, Autumn 1997, p. 8 and supplement.

Without Any Apologies for Their Sex: A Celebration of Women at Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music

We are pleased to announce the launch of our latest exhibition which celebrates the contribution of women to Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music since its inception in 1872. The display runs from 15 January – 24 March 2016 and can be found just inside the entrance to the library. External visitors: please contact the library in advance to arrange access. This blog post summarizes the exhibition for those unable to visit in person.

Student Edith Bird with her piano teacher Gordon Saunders, ca.1907-1912. In the early days of the college women overwhelmingly studied either piano or singing. TCM 15/4.

When Harold Rutland wrote his 1972 centenary history of Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban’s Faculty of Music), he filled its pages with the names and faces of men. At that time, women were absent from senior management roles and their impact in other areas was marginalized. However, take a closer look at the archives held here in the Jerwood Library and a different story emerges. As students, teachers and examiners, women contributed in innovative and pioneering ways to the success of the institution. This exhibition recovers their voices from the obscurity of the historical record. It is the story of how women made Trinity Laban the institution it is today.


Trinity College of Music was initially set up in 1872 as a training college for church music. As such, it focused on choral singing and organ playing, both areas then dominated by men. But the college soon expanded to cover other aspects of music education, and a programme of local examinations was initiated. These were extremely popular with young ladies around the country and led to growing numbers entering the college as students. In 1900, just over half of matriculated students were women. Yet women students were not fully integrated into the life of the college: they were taught in special ‘ladies’ classes’ and successful women diploma candidates were listed separately from their male counterparts. Women’s musical studies were also overwhelmingly limited to theory classes, piano and singing. Violin was studied only by a handful of women, in keeping with contemporary norms.[1]

TCM prog 4 Dec 1924

TCM concert in 1924 shows an even gender balance among string-playing students. TCM 6/6.

The taboo associated with women instrumentalists was, however, about to break. A concert programme from 1924 is striking in its gender balance across all string instruments, including Jessie Mason on double bass. Women also began to study wind instruments. In the 1950s scholarships were awarded to Michelle Croll, Anne Boyce, Mary Brenchley, Jane Alderson, and Beatrice Hussey on flute, Barbara Graham and Jean Titcombe on oboe, and Sylvia Thomas on clarinet.

In spite of this growth in accomplished female instrumentalists, opportunities in professional orchestras were limited. Henry Wood recruited six female string players to his Queen’s Hall orchestra in 1913 but other UK orchestras were slow to appoint women to permanent posts. The LSO remained resolutely all male until the late 1970s.[2]

By the 1980s women students were on an entirely equal footing with their male counterparts at Trinity. Scholarships, prizes and performance opportunities were all split equally between genders. Women were also represented across all instruments, including on brass and percussion, two areas which had previously been little studied by women.


In common with other conservatoires, women were largely excluded from teaching positions at Trinity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, although they were prominent as local music teachers. In 1880, only two women professors were employed by the college: Alma Sanders on piano and Kate Steel for singing. Sanders was also a composer and in 1884 won the college’s chamber music prize competition and ten guineas for her piano quartet. By 1900, the numbers had expanded slightly and Doris Dalton had been appointed to teach violin, in spite of the continuing prejudice towards women violinists. In 1897 a reviewer had described Dalton, rather patronizingly, as a ‘clever young violinist’ after a recital at St. James’ Hall, a large and grand concert hall then in Piccadilly.[3]

Finzi Bagatelles cover

Gerald Finzi’s Five Bagatelles was written for Pauline Juler, professor of clarinet at TCM. 781.3 FIN.

During the first half of the twentieth century, numbers of women professors steadily increased. One of these was Pauline Juler, a clarinettist who had studied at TCM and was now making a name for herself, against all odds, as a chamber musician and recitalist. As The Musical Times noted, she was undoubtedly a good clarinettist ‘without any apologies for her sex’.[4] In 1943 Juler recorded Harold Ferguson’s Octet with leading musicians of the day including horn player Denis Brain, and the year later Gerald Finzi wrote his Five Bagatelles for her. Finzi also had Juler in mind for his clarinet concerto but Juler’s performing career had meanwhile come to an abrupt end on her marriage (though she did continue to teach into the 1960s).

By 1980 the college had begun to resemble the modern institution it is today. The corporation included two women members and the teaching staff were represented on the college board by Lettice Stuart, a long-standing teacher in the junior department. Administrative staff included a female librarian and welfare officer. As professors, women were still not represented evenly across all instruments (they were notably absent from the brass department) but were particularly prominent as singing teachers, as indeed they had always been. Valerie Cardnell, for instance, taught singing at the college for around twenty years from 1965. She was also an active member of the Society of Women Musicians, an institution founded in 1911 in reaction to the (then) male-only Society of British Composers.

Valerie Cardnell 1972

A stately-looking Valerie Cardnell leaving Westminster Abbey after a service of thanksgiving to mark TCM’s centenary in 1972. Note how she is surrounded by men in this picture: women were still in the minority among professors and senior management at this time. VC 6.


With growing numbers of women achieving music qualifications, and with limited professional outlets for them as musicians, some Trinity women were recruited by the college as examiners. At first the numbers were small; between 1874 and 1900 only three out of 144 public examiners were women. But the numbers grew and women examiners came to play a crucial role in cementing the global reputation of the college. Examining was not, however, an easy option. The rapidly expanding network of examination centres meant that examiners had to travel extensively across the globe for long periods of time. As Jay Thomas reported after her first examining tour of India in 1967, ‘I have lived seven years of experience in seven weeks’.[5]

Women travelled all over the world examining for the college. Data compiled from TCM Bulletins, 1965-1969.

Women travelled all over the world examining for the college. Data compiled from TCM Bulletins, 1965-1969.

Mary Tweedie was one of the earliest women to gain recognition for her examining work. She toured the world many times over during fifteen years as an examiner in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, at one point taking charge of an administrative crisis at the Johannesburg centre. The local secretary in New Zealand deemed her to be ‘the finest ambassador Britain ever had’.[6] She also represented the college at prize givings in her native Scotland, distributing awards and giving the address on at least two occasions. After her death in 1963 a correspondent to The Times wrote:

She had a mind steeped in music, literature and poetry, and an exceptionally retentive memory with an imaginative skill as a story-teller which enchanted old and young alike … A host of friends throughout the world will mourn the loss of a warm-hearted, endearing and unique personality.[7]

In the 1960s, perhaps owing in part to the success of Mary Tweedie, the proportion of women examiners rose quite dramatically from around eight per cent in 1960 to twenty-five per cent in 1970. One of these was Marjorie Jaco, an organist, choirmaster and conductor who claimed to be the first woman to conduct at the Royal Festival Hall. Over the course of her examining career she travelled three times around the world, lecturing in Canada, Sri Lanka, India and the Antipodes, and broadcasting programmes in Canada and New Zealand, alongside her examining commitments.

Women examiners 1968

The proportion of women examiners rose considerably in the 1960s. Marjorie Jaco, Sonia Melville and Mavis Walker all joined the ranks in 1968. TCM Bulletin May 1968.

Junior Department

Trinity’s junior department, the first of its kind in the UK, began in 1906 with a partnership between the college and London County Council. It was initially run by John Warriner but after his death in 1934 Gladys Puttick was appointed to lead the department. She was already director of music at Queen’s College, Harley Street and had a private teaching practice in Wigmore Street teaching musicianship and piano. Puttick had an innovative approach to creative musicianship, something she had developed from her mentor Dr Yorke Trotter at the London Academy of Music. She remained head of the junior department for forty-two years and her influence was deep and long-lasting. Jane Daniels recalled ‘without Gladys Puttick, I probably would never have become a professional musician’. Similarly impressed was the conductor Barry Wordsworth who has said,

‘She was quite simply extraordinary … without her I cannot imagine how things would have gone’.[8]

In 1976 Puttick was succeeded by Lettice Stuart who maintained the ethos of Puttick’s teaching. Musicianship classes remain a core strength of the department to this day.

Gladys Puttick TCM 16.2.3

Gladys Puttick teaching a musicianship class to junior students in 1963. Note the roughly even gender balance among her pupils. Photograph © Michael Ward. TCM 16/2/3.

Current Situation

Today, there is a good gender balance across Trinity Laban. The latest equality statistics reported a roughly equal split among staff overall, as well as among senior post holders. There is also an even gender balance among music students. At Trinity College London (the exam board which separated from TCM in 1992), 103 out of 240 music examiners are now women (as of November 2015), a respectable legacy for the likes of Mary Tweedie and Marjorie Jaco .

Individual music faculty women also continue to blaze a trail for gender equality. In 2013, composition teacher Errollyn Wallen became the first ever female recipient of the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music. Dr Sophie Fuller, programme leader for the MMus and MFA courses, researches gender and sexuality in music and is the author of the Pandora Guide to Women Composers. And as part of last year’s International Women’s Day, two female jazz students, Rosie Turton and Nubya Garcia, were featured in London Jazz News.

But gender imbalances still prevail in the wider music profession. In the 2015 BBC Proms season women accounted for only 30% of instrumental soloists, 36% of living composers, and just 4% of conductors. Meanwhile, the majority of UK music teachers are female — a recent Making Music report put the figure at 71% of all teachers preparing students for ABRSM or TCL examinations. Women, therefore, continue to occupy the lowest paid, lowest profile jobs in the music profession, while men dominate on the public stage.


[1] Cyril Ehrlich, The Music Profession in Britain since the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), p. 157. On the broader history of women in music see also Lucy Green, Music, Gender, Education (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997) and Tick, Judith, et al. “Women in music.” Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online (Oxford University Press) <http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/52554pg2> [date accessed: 18 September 2015].

[2] Richard Morrison, Orchestra: the LSO. A Century of Triumph and Turbulence (London: Faber, 2004), p. 187.

[3] ‘Concerts and Recitals’, The Musical Times and Singing Class Circular, 38, 651 (1897), p. 316.

[4] ‘London Concerts’, The Musical Times, 78, 1137 (1937), p. 991.

[5] ‘News and Views of our Examinations Overseas’, TCM Bulletin, 7 (1968), 11-16 (p. 16.).

[6] Harold Rutland, Trinity College of Music: the First Hundred Years (London: Trinity College of Music, 1972), p. 38.

[7] ‘Miss Mary Tweedie’, The Times, 4 October 1963.

[8] Cassal, Anne, Junior Trinity: 100 Years, 1906-2006 (Ann Cassal, 2006), p. 30.


Music in Wartime: New Exhibition

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of VE Day (8 May 1945), the library today launches a new exhibition: Music in Wartime. With material related to both the First and Second World Wars, the exhibition highlights resources unique to Trinity Laban – extracts from Trinity College of Music’s board minutes of the time (held in the Trinity College of Music Archive), and items from the Charles Kennedy Scott Archive – as well as providing a broader picture of wartime life through passages from The Musical Times and books from the library’s loanable collection.

Trinity College of Music board minutes, 1933-44

Trinity College of Music board minutes, 1933-44

The idea for the exhibition first came to me while I was conducting a stocktake of the library’s holdings of The Musical Times. This involved leafing through every bound volume of that journal (our holdings span from 1878 to the present day), checking for missing issues so that the information on the Jerwood Library’s catalogue is as accurate as possible. But as I looked through issue after issue – with the years moving from 1913 to 1914 and beyond – I couldn’t help but become enthralled by the inevitably stark effect of war on musical activity and thought: evident not just in articles and shorter notes (‘The European War and Its Influence on the Evolution of Musical Tendencies in France’ (1916), ‘Should Teutonic Music be Boycotted?’ (1915), and ‘Music in Ruhleben [internment] Camp’ (1919) are just a few examples), but also in the concert listings, advertisements and letters included in the journal. It provided a reminder of the effect of war on the (musical) lives of those at home, and of the role of music for those either at war or held in prisoner of war camps. And the sheer act of looking through each month’s journal issue brought home the reality of the length of time – season after season, year after year – for which both wars endured.

Material from The Musical Times at the outbreak of World War I presents a complex picture of attitudes towards musicians, music-making and concert-going. Wartime economies meant that budgets all-round were hit, and the general population too experienced a decrease in incomes. One article from late 1914 begins by noting that:

… the outlook for British musicians, although far from being normal, is improving. Many important musical enterprises that were threatened with extinction are being carried on bravely, and influential forces have been mobilized for the purpose of striving for the cause of the British executant. Ultimately the issue depends upon the attitude of concert-goers, who, in common with other classes of the community, have been hard hit financially, and who may not unnaturally have qualms of conscience as to whether musical recreation should be sought during a time when there is so much around us that is stern and grim.
‘The Outlook for British Musicians’. The Musical Times, no 861 (vol 55), December 1, 1914, p. 644.

The moral question posed by engaging in musical activities at the time was conveyed even more keenly in an article the following month, which reported on a paper titled ‘Music in War-Time’ given by Mr H.C. Colles at the first meeting of the Musical Association:

He said that musicians had been conscious lately that they had become less interesting to their fellows than they normally were, and many found, though perhaps ashamed to confess it, that music itself interested them less than it used to do. Yet music remained and musicians remained, and the question was ‘What were we going to do with them?’

‘Music in War-Time’. The Musical Times, no 862 (vol 55), December 1, 1914, p.707.

In contrast was the view that music could serve a valuable cathartic purpose, and that musicians – and their talents and activities – should be celebrated and made use of on those grounds:

Viewed in retrospect, the first half of the current season has revealed the undoubted fact that the War has made us all feel our music with greater keenness – not perhaps with greater zest, because one cannot get away from the fact that music seems an almost culpable joy in face of the European turmoil and desolation – but the message of great music is coming home to the average man or woman as never before, and where heroic feeling is the dominant note, conductor, players and audience have been swept up to heights not before reached in our generation.

‘Manchester and District’ (Music in the Provinces: by our own correspondents). The Musical Times, no 863 (vol 56), January 1, 1915, p. 46.

However, as budgets were hit, and festivals and concert series were drastically down-scaled or cancelled, musicians and their incomes also suffered. Along with a widespread movement against the performance of Austro-German music (for example, the 1915 Proms series contained ‘no German masterpieces’), a rise of protectionistic instincts is clearly visible: for example, the Music in War-time Committee was formed with the aim ‘simply to create or find engagements for the native performer, and to encourage performances’.

The desire to protect against the ‘enemy alien’ was also a prominent theme in Trinity College of Music’s board minutes of the time, which document in October 1914 the resolution that

…  it is undesirable to employ Germans and Austro-Hungarians in positions to fill which competent members of the British Empire can be obtained.

A short time later, in early 1915, two Hungarian students ‘being alien enemies and of military age’ are admitted to the college, only for this offer to be rescinded the next month, after further discussion by the board. Perhaps most striking – and difficult to imagine today – is the removal of contemporary compositions from a Trinity syllabus, on the basis that they had been published in Germany, and therefore that profit received from the printing and sale of these pieces would directly benefit ‘enemy alien firms’.

Entrance Hall to Mandeville Place, showing the War Memorial

Entrance hall to Mandeville Place, showing Trinity College of Music’s war memorial. Nine students and one member of staff lost their lives during World War One.

Trinity College of Music War Memorial, now located in the Hawksmoor entrance of King Charles Court

Trinity College of Music’s war memorial, now located in the Hawksmoor entrance of King Charles Court

While the possible consequences of war for Trinity College of Music were perhaps initially  underestimated by the board during World War I (for instance, they rejected the idea of insurance against aerial bombardment in October 1914, to later take out a policy in mid-1915), the College’s preparations for the implications of World War II seem impressively planned. In May 1939 plans are already under consideration ‘for transferring a portion of the College Staff, together with important documents and records, in the event of a National Emergency’, and among the numerous plans noted at an emergency meeting held on 1 September 1939 (the day war was declared), the Principal reports that ‘in order to provide for his complete general supervision of College administration during the period of hostilities, he has taken up residence at the College.’ A bomb-proof basement shelter was built, an air raid warden appointed, a rota of night-time fire watchers put in place, wartime economies were continually considered and salaries reduced… but teaching, examinations, rehearsals and performances continued between 1939 and 1945.

To end this post, a first-hand account of life at Junior Trinity during the Second World War highlights how the spirit of the college was able to prevail, even under the most challenging circumstances:

Common chords are never really common when learnt in our beautiful Lecture Hall with its panelled walls, organ, pianos, and blackboard and Miss Puttick’s magical teaching; but when learnt in a basement shelter, tightly packed on backless forms, with your neighbour’s gas-mask container digging into your ribs, there is something heroic about them, an echo of the Song of Roland (Norman-French Ballade) under the drone of planes and roar of anti-aircraft guns.


There were, of course, a few instances of homework not being done. Manuscript books have a way of getting lost when one’s home is bombed; and being flung across the room by blast – which happened to two of our small boys.


On September 17th 1940 a heavy bomb demolished property adjacent to the College. Dust, plaster, and broken glass filled the building and it was obvious that the new term could not begin on the fixed date. But here again, very little time was lost. All members of the clerical staff valiantly got down on their hands and knees and scrubbed; in a week the College re-opened. It was rather subdued and deserted, but nonetheless Trinity College carried on.

[extracts taken from ‘The War Years (1940-1942)’ (author unknown – found amongst Miss Puttick’s papers). In Junior Trinity 100 Years: 1906 ­– 2006, written and compiled by Anne Cassal. Anne Cassal: 2006, pp. 6-7.]

The Music in Wartime exhibition also contains items usually available for loan from the Jerwood Library, including the following books, CDs and DVDs:

Proof through the night: Music and the Great War, by Glenn Watkins
788.08 WAT

War Letters, by Ivor Gurney
789 GUR

Inherit the truth: 1939-1945: the documented experiences of a survivor of Auschwitz and Belsen, by Anita Lasker-Wallfisch  
789 LAS

War’s embers: songs by composers who perished or suffered in World War I, sung by Michael George (bass)

Great songs of World War II : classic songs from the World War 2 era, featuring Vera Lynn, Glenn Miller, Flanagan and Allen and George Formby

You must remember this, directed by Sue Mallinson

Oh! What a lovely war, directed by Richard Attenborough

The Reichsorchester: the Berlin Philharmonic and the Third Reich, a film by Enrique Sánchez Lansch

Music in Wartime will be on display from 8 May to 2 July and can be found in the Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts at the music faculty of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (directions here). If you are coming from outside the institution, please sign in at the main reception desk and a member of library staff will come to meet you.

The Jerwood Library joins Flickr Commons

We are delighted to announce that images from our special collections have been accepted into the Flickr Commons. This means that they are available to anyone to use, share and comment on as they wish without copyright restriction. It is a great opportunity for us to increase access to the collections worldwide as well as for the public to contribute knowledge and information.

TCM personnel, 1920

Trinity College of Music personnel, 1920

So far we have uploaded a small selection of images from the Trinity College of Music archive dating from the early 20th century. These include pictures of former staff members as well as the college’s old premises on Mandeville Place.

Do have a browse and let us know what you think – we’d especially love to hear from you if you can help us to put names to faces. In due course we hope to be able to add more images from the collections, so follow us on Flickr if you’d like to keep up-to-date. For more information about Flickr Commons click here.

Faces from Trinity’s Past: Ludwig Lebell

Today, whilst cataloguing an archive of material relating to the former Trinity College of Music, I came across an envelope full of tiny (3×2’’) photographic portraits of Trinity staff members taken in 1933. Some are of well-known Trinity alumni such as Sir Granville Bantock but many are of less familiar faces, such as this one of the cellist Ludwig Lebell.

Ludwig Lebell, Keith Stent Archive, TCM 14/1/10

Ludwig Lebell, Keith Stent Archive, TCM 14/1/10

Lebell was born in Austria around 1873 and is said to have studied with Popper and Bruckner at the Vienna Conservatoire before settling in England. By 1914 he was working at Trinity where he remained, teaching cello and coaching chamber music classes, until his death some forty years later in September 1954. Harold Rutland, Trinity’s biographer, noted the ‘conspicuous success’ Lebell had as a chamber music coach and cited Wilfrid Perry, a contemporary, as saying Lebell was the finest teacher of chamber music he had ever known.

Lebell was also apparently a prolific composer of cello music, writing works for cello and piano, technical studies and pieces for beginners. If you want to explore his work further you can find many of his publications here in the library at shelfmarks 781.35 LEB, 781.351 LEB and 781.357 LEB – several are even signed by the man himself!

Remembering ‘Britten’s Forgotten Contemporary’: George Lloyd (1913-1998)

This month sees the centenary of former Trinity College of Music (now Trinity Laban) student and composer George Lloyd, born on 28th June 1913. Although Lloyd’s music has been rather eclipsed by that of his exact contemporary Benjamin Britten,[1] his work was at times highly regarded during his lifetime, and is now enjoying something of a renaissance in this his centenary year. Next week, beginning 24th June, Lloyd will feature as BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week, later in the summer his work will be heard at the BBC Proms, and in October Lloyd’s first opera Iernin will be revived in Croydon and Penzance by Surrey Opera. Other performances can be found on the George Lloyd Society website.

George Lloyd began composing music as a child. He studied privately with Albert Sammons (violin) and Harry Farjeon (composition), and between 1929 and 1932 took lessons in piano and orchestration from William Lovelock at Trinity. In 1934, aged just twenty-one, Iernin was performed at the Lyceum Theatre and received to great critical acclaim. A performance of his third symphony by the BBC followed and in 1938 a second opera, The Serf, was put on at Covent Garden and in Liverpool and Glasgow.

Then, disastrously, World War II intervened. Lloyd joined the Royal Marines as a bandsman and went to work on HMS Trinidad, performing with the band whilst on shore and helping to operate the transmitting station whilst at sea. Tragically, whilst on an arctic convoy in March 1942, the ship was struck by its own malfunctioning torpedo. An oil tank was ruptured and the transmitting station where Lloyd and the rest of the band were working filled with oil. Thirty-one men died. Lloyd managed to escape but the experience left him injured and suffering from severe shell shock. Lieutenant Commander P. W. Dolphin wrote in his midshipman’s journal at the time, ‘nothing certain is known about the T.S. because those who escaped remember nothing of what happened’.[2] Another eyewitness recalled that an hour after his escape ‘George Lloyd was still being violently sick’, presumably from ingesting oil.[3] In his own words Lloyd was left a ‘total wreck’.[4]

Reproduced with the kind permission of William Lloyd

Reproduced with the kind permission of William Lloyd

After some time spent in a military hospital in Aberdeen, Lloyd’s wife Nancy took him away to her home country Switzerland and, against the prognosis of doctors, gradually nursed him back to health. He began to compose again and even fulfilled a commission from the Festival of Britain for an opera, John Socman, in 1951. But with his fragile health he was unable to face the London music scene and retreated to Dorset where he spent many years working as a market gardener, first growing carnations and later mushrooms. He continued to compose but his music was unheard for around twenty years. It was only in 1977 that interest in his work was renewed. The BBC broadcast his 8th symphony and, championed by former Trinity College of Music principal Gavin Henderson, then manager of the Philharmonia, Lloyd’s work began to be recorded.

By the end of his life in 1998 George Lloyd had written twelve symphonies, three operas, and many other instrumental and vocal works. His work was performed world-wide, widely published and extensively recorded. Three years before his death he appeared on Desert Island Discs choosing extracts from two of his works alongside music by Verdi, Bach and Elgar. You can listen to the broadcast here.

We have several recordings of George Lloyd’s music here in the library and some of his scores. They are all listed on the online catalogue. Lloyd’s manuscripts are held by the British Library; the score of the fourth symphony will be on public display there from 22 June.

[1] The phrase ‘Britten’s forgotten contemporary’ was quoted in ‘Return of the Tune: George Lloyd Talks to Edward Seckerson’, Radio 3 Magazine, vol. 3/2 (Februrary 1984), pp. 2-4

[2] Imperial War Museum: Private Papers of Lieutenant Commander P W Dolphin RN, Documents.17116, 242pp.

[3] Frank Pearce, The Ship that Torpedoed Herself: HMS Trinidad (1975), p. 81.

[4] ‘George Lloyd’, Desert Island Discs, broadcast Sun 23 Apr 1995, http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/desert-island-discs/castaway/4817796e