Collection NSM - Northern School of Music Archive

Identity area

Reference code

GB GB1179 NSM

Title

Northern School of Music Archive

Date(s)

  • 1910-1976 (Creation)

Level of description

Collection

Extent and medium

19 series

Context area

Name of creator

(1920-1973)

Administrative history

Hilda Collens had studied privately with Tobias Matthay, and was sympathetic to Walter Carroll's campaigning for the wider teaching of music in Manchester elementary schools. She gave individual piano lessons and taught at Sale Grammar School for Girls, but wanted to put Matthay's principles and her own ideas into practice for the teaching of muscianship. Accordingly on September 22nd 1920 Hilda Collens opened a school with the idea of broadening the scope of the Matthay training. The Manchester Branch of the Matthay School of Music was a private enterprise, supported by the fees of the pupils. Although superficially a private commercial enterprise, in practice and in spirit the Matthay School was nothing of the sort - although it suffered from the suspicions of its detractors that Hilda Collens was enjoying considerable financial gain. The initial years brought concern for the stability of the school, and were dogged by constant financial and other pressures. These were highlighted by the outbreak of war - the school was particularly affected by the evacuation of children and young people undertaking national service, and enrolments declined sharply. Accordingly Hilda Collens put the school on a public basis, and in September 1943 the Matthay School, Manchester branch, formally became a public institution under the name The Northern School of Music. The Board of Trade issued a licence to enable the certificate of incorporation to omit the word "limited" (although the NSM was a company limited by guarantee). All profits were to be ploughed back into the support of music-making - a practice followed by Hilda Collens from the beginnings of the school. On the death of Miss Collens in 1956, Ida Carroll was confirmed as acting Principal. It was decided that continuity rather than radical changes of policy would assist the negotiations then in progress with Manchester Corporation which were considering the adoption of the NSM as a Manchester institution. An approach had been made by the Royal Manchester College of Music with a view to amalgamation, but despite the precarious financial situation at the NSM its Council felt "that the two institutions differed too widely in character, personality, and method for a satisfactory connection to be possible". By 1957 negotiations with Manchester had resulted in concrete proposals as to the syllabus and management, and financial support; this meant that in April when another meeting was held at the invitation of the Vice-Chancellor of Manchester University with representatives from the RMCM, the NSM representatives again dismissed the suggestions of amalgamation or closer co-operation with the RMCM. Ida Carroll was appointed Principal in 1958, and although the school continued to carry a loss student numbers and support were still encouragingly high. Unfortunately the wider future of musical education was now in doubt, and the NSM showed its willingness to be involved in a scheme larger than the initially-proposed takeover by the RMCM. A draft scheme for a new college was prepared, and negotiations began (see below). Finances: The early years of the Matthay School were precarious financially: it was totally dependent on the fees of the pupils, and the staff did not receive a salary but were paid termly tuition fees (in 1923

Name of creator

(1883-1956)

Biographical history

Hilda Hester Collens (1883-1956) had studied privately with Tobias Matthay. She gave individual piano lessons and taught at Sale Grammar School for Girls, but wanted to put Matthay's principles and her own ideas into practice for the teaching of muscianship. Accordingly on September 22nd 1920 Hilda Collens opened a school with the idea of broadening the scope of the Matthay training. The Manchester Branch of the Matthay School of Music was a private enterprise, supported by the fees of the pupils. She built it to be the Northern School of Music, supported by local authority grants as well as pupil fees. It merged in 1973 with the Royal Manchester College of Music to form the Royal Northern College of Music.

Name of creator

(1905-1995)

Biographical history

Ida Gertrude Carroll (1905-1995). Her career in music education started as a student of the Northern School of Music and then as Secretary to the Board, as Deputy and Acting Principal and finally as Principal from 1958 until 1971, all within the NSM. She is widely remembered for her fierce loyalty to the NSM and its students. She was instrumental in the merging of the NSM and Royal Manchester College of Music to become to the Royal Northern College of Music. She later became Companion and Dean of Management of the Royal Northern College of Music. She was Chair of the College Old Students’ Association and part of the Association of Friends. After her retirement from education, she became President of the Incorporated Society of Musicians. In addition to her full-time work Ida Carroll was a freelance double bass player, and a leading figure in a number of organisations including Chetham's School of Music, European String Teachers Association and the National Youth Orchestra. Although she never married, Ida Carroll was lifelong companion of Geoffrey Griffiths, Bursar at the Northern School of Music.

Archival history

Much of the NSM Archive was retrieved from the RNCM current record store in July 2003, during the course of a records survey. It appears that Ida Carroll kept the NSM records in her office on becoming Dean of Management of the RNCM; on her retirement her office was cleared and the records transferred to record storage. They were designated archival records and catalogued during the summer 2003.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

Official records of the Northern School of Music covering its history from incorporation to amalgamation with the Royal Manchester College of Music to form the Royal Northern College of Music. Records include Council minutes, some financial materials, prospectuses and annual reports (incomplete series), student records, and photographs. The archive unfortunately lacks comprehensive records: in particular, annual reports, programmes, and the school magazines (published annually from 1937) are missing. Student records earlier than 1947 are not extant.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling

Duplicate printed materials have been discarded. Duplicate copies (found in the office of David Young) of the school magazine have been disgarded: Nos 31; 33; 35; 18; 25; 27; 30; 29;
Copyright in official records produced by the NSM and its employees rests in the Royal Northern College of Music. Copyright in other records is subject to the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1984.

Accruals

None expected - although further records may come to light. Additional copies of the school magazine have been added to the collection as found in the office of David Young (22/06/2005).

System of arrangement

Order has been imposed, as the state of the records was extremely confused when cataloguing work began in 2003 and original order was impossible to ascertain owing to the moving of the records between locations in the 30 years between the closure of the RMCM and the cataloguing of the archive. The 19 series comprise: 1 - Council Minute Book 2-4 Prospectuses, Syllabi, Summer courses in music 5-7 - Student records 8-12 - Examinations and prize distribution 13 - photographs 14 - New College 15-17 - Financial 18-19 - Commemorative items and drawings

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Student testimonials are closed in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 (open to data subject requests). Please ask the Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

Any detailed indexes to volumes are listed in the catalogue.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description


  • Lancashire Record Office : County Council Education Committee
  • Salford City Archive Service: Education Committee
  • National Archives: records created or inherited by the Department of Education and Science (ED)
  • Manchester City Archives: City Council Education Committee
  • Cheshire Record Office: County Council Education Committee
  • University of Manchester Archives: Vice-Chancellor's files (VCA/7/162 -NSM, 1942-57)

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

GB1179

Rules and/or conventions used

Status

Final

Level of detail

Dates of creation revision deletion

WickhaS, 02/06/2003

Language(s)

Script(s)

Sources

Digital object (Master) rights area

Digital object (Reference) rights area

Digital object (Thumbnail) rights area

Accession area