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DAVIES, Sir (Henry) Walford (1869-1941)

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1249 HW Davies
Held at: Royal College of Music
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Full title: DAVIES, Sir (Henry) Walford (1869-1941)
Date(s): 1890-1969
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 43 boxes (2.75 linear metres)
Name of creator(s): Davies | Sir | Henry Walford | 1869-1941 | Knight | composer organist broadcaster


Administrative/Biographical history:

Sir Henry Walford Davies, born, Oswestry, Shropshire, 6 Sep 1869; trained in choir of St George's Chapel, Windsor, and was was pupil assistant to Walter Parratt; entered Royal College of Music under a composition scholarship, 1890; studied with Charles Parry and Charles Stanford; became teacher of counterpoint, RCM, 1895-1918; organist at St George's Kensington, St Anne's, Soho, and Christ Church, Hampstead; organist and choirmaster at the Temple Church, 1898-1919; conductor of the Bach Choir, 1903-1907; appointed director of music to the Royal Air Force, 1918; professor of music, University of Wales, Aberystwyth, 1919-1926; chairman of the Welsh National Council of Music; knighted, 1922; appointed Gresham Professor of Music in the University of London, 1926; made his first radio broadcast to schools, 1924; his popular radio series 'Music and the Ordinary Listener' commenced, 1926; records for His Master's Voice Melody Lectures (HMV C 1063 to 1701) and Twelve Talks on Melody (HMV C 1759 to 1767); organist, St George's Chapel, Windsor, 1927-1932; music advisor at the BBC, 1927-1939; appointed Master of the King's Musick, 1934; died, Wrington, Somerset, 11 Mar 1941. Publications and music (a selection): Rhythm in Church (London, 1913); The Pursuit of Music (London, 1935); Symphony in D, 1894; Overture in D minor, 1897; Welshmen in London, 1897; folksong cantata Three Jovial Huntsmen, 1902; oratorio Everyman, 1904; Symphony, in G, 1911; cantata Song of St Francis, 1912; anthem, `Let us Now Praise Famous Men'; Solemn Melody; RAF March Past.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of Sir Henry Walford Davies, 1890-1969, including correspondence on his music and career (correspondents include Dean Albert Baillie, Robert Bridges, Henry Colles, Sir George Grove, August Jaeger, Charles Parry, Sir Walter Parratt, Sir Charles Stanford), 1891-1937; engagement diaries, 1890-1941; notebooks, c1917-1931; music note and sketch books, c1891-1927; manuscript music of arrangements compiled as a student at the Royal College of Music, 1890s; lists of published musical works; copyright and royalty correspondence, 1895-1954; correspondence relating to publications and proposed publications, including 'New Fellowship Song Book', 'Music and Worship', First steps in music and A four years' course in music, 1930-1934; manuscript music for a proposed song book for schools, 1938-1939; typescripts, correspondence relating to 'The Psalter newly printed', 1933, the BBC hymn book, 1938-1939, and the Army hymn book, 1940; letters and papers relating to the School of Church Music and the College of St Nicolas, 1933-1936; manuscript notes and printed programmes of lectures by Davies, 1909-1938, including Royal Institution lectures 'Music in relation to other arts' (1910) and 'To untrained listeners' (1915), and Gresham music lectures, 1924-1938; typescripts of Davies' BBC radio broadcasts to schools on music with printed scholars' manuals, 1924-1938; typescripts of Davies' BBC radio broadcasts `Music and the ordinary listener', 1926-1939; associated correspondence and printed material relating to BBC radio broadcasts, 1924-1941; typescripts and notes for 'Keyboard talks', 1933-1935; manuscript music, notes and typescripts of Davies BBC radio broadcasts 'Melodies of Christendom' and Empire Day talks, 1934-1939; private correspondence relating to his work for radio, 1933-1937; letters from BBC listeners, 1936-1937; letters to Lady Davies on Davies death, 1941; biographical material on Davies compiled for Walford Davies: a Biography by H C Colles (London, 1942), including published material on Davies, 1919-1943; papers relating to commemoration of centenary of Davies' birth, 1969.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in series as given in scope and content.

Conditions governing access:

Usual conditions of the Library of the Royal College of Music apply. See the RCM website or contact the RCM Library for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopying is permitted at the discretion of the Archivist for research purposes only.

Finding aids:

The material is mostly uncatalogued. Detailed lists (1997) of Davies' most significant correspondence, 1890-1937, and of his BBC broadcasts, 1924-1941, may be found in the Library of the Royal College of Music, together with an index to Davies' music manuscripts.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Donated by the executors of John Whitridge Wilson, 1990s.

Allied Materials

Related material:

Royal College of Music holds manuscript music; papers of Herbert Howells, containing correspondence from Davies.

National Library of Wales hold Manuscript music and correspondence, 1898-1941; Elgar Birthplace Museum holds letters to Edward Elgar, 1900-1933; St Geoge's Chapel Archives hold letters to E H Fellowes, 1924-1930; British Library holds correspondence with the Society of Authors, 1915-1937.

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Robert Baxter as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project. Sources: Article by Hugh Ottaway and Lewis Foreman, Grove Dictionary of Music.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
May 2001

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