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Royal College of Music: Council

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1249 Council
Held at: Royal College of Music
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Full title: Royal College of Music: Council
Date(s): 1873-1995
Level of description: Sub fonds of the archives of the RCM
Extent: 93 volumes, 14 files
Name of creator(s): Royal College of Music


Administrative/Biographical history:

A meeting convened by the Prince of Wales at Marlborough House in 1878 had proposed to amalgamate the Royal Academy of Music and the National Training School for Music into a new national music conservatoire, and a charter was drafted. Following the failure of the RAM to enter the scheme, a new charter was drafted in 1880, which proposed particularly that the new Royal College of Music should raise funds to provide for the maintenance as well as the education of certain of its students. The Prince of Wales accepted the presidency of the College's Council, and George Grove became a member of the Council and Executive Committee in July 1881. The draft charter for the proposed Royal College of Music of 1880 had provided for a Council to be the governing body of the College, constituted of three ex-officio members (the President, Principal and Vice-Principal) and thirty other ordinary members. However from 1883 until 1970, the Director sat 'in attendance' with the Council and was not an ex-officio member. Thereafter the Director and other staff were eligible to be appointed Council members, and this was extended in 1975 to include three additional members of staff appointed by the Board of Professors. The President of the Council (normally a royal personage) was also Chairman of the Council between 1882-1965. Thereafter the Chair has been held as follows: Rt Hon Lord Redcliffe Maud, 1965-1972; Col the Hon Sir Gordon Palmer, 1973-1987; Leopold de Rothschild, 1987-1999; Sir Anthony Cleaver, 1999-. The Presidency of the Council has been held as follows: Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, 1882-1901; George, Prince of Wales, 1901-1910; Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, 1910-1918; Edward, Prince of Wales, 1918-1936; George, Duke of Kent, 1936-1942; Princess Elizabeth, 1943-1952; Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, 1952-1992; Charles, Prince of Wales, 1993-.
The Executive and Finance Committees were originally separate entities from creation in 1883, but merged in May 1884. A Finance Committee met separately from the Executive Committee, Mar 1923-Feb 1939, having been instructed by the Council to 'to consider the present system of College finance with a view to the production of a duly audited balance sheet, and to a clearer presentment of the money...for ordinary expenditure'. The Executive and Finance Committee last met in 1991 and it was thereafter reconstituted as the Executive Committee.
The RCM Ladies and Visiting Committee was formed to liaise between the Executive Committee and the Superintendent of the Pupils' board houses on the one hand, and the students living in private houses.
The Building Committee's main business from 1981 was to oversee the construction of the Britten Opera Theatre, alterations to the Library, the Dining Room and Students' Recreation Room.
Ernest Palmer (later 1st Baron Palmer of Reading) endowed the 'Royal College of Music Patron's Fund' with 20,000 in 1903 for 'the encouragement of native composers by the performance of their works'. The first use of the funds was to give public concerts of new chamber and orchestral works from 1904. In 1925, he supplemented his Patron's Fund with a Fund for Opera Study, as well as contributions to the fabric of the building.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Council of the Royal College of Music, 1873-1995, including minute books, 1883-1978; agendas of Council, Corporation and sub-committees, 1887-1966, 1978-1979; attendance records of Council, Corporation and Committees, 1885-1958; Annual Reports of the RCM, 1884-1990; Executive and Finance Committee minutes, 1883-1991; financial statements of account, 1887-1974; reports to the Corporation and balance sheets, 1884-1991; RCM Ladies and Visiting Committee minutes, 1885-1887; RCM Building Committee minutes, 1888-1894, 1981-1986; Canteen sub-committee minutes, 1982-1983; RCM Institutional Reviews and Strategic Plans, 1994-1995; Financial regulations and terms of reference for Committees, 1993; RCM submission in response to the Gowrie Report, proposing a merger with the Royal Academy of Music, 1990; Bristol Scholarship minutes, 1882-1937; minutes, financial papers and reports of the Patron's Fund and Ernest Palmer Fund for Opera Study, 1903-1989; Patron's and Ernest Palmer Fund Committee minutes, 1977-1988; events book (including National Training School for Music), 1873-1913.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Arranged in series.

Conditions governing access:

The release of any material will be at the College's sole discretion to bona fide researchers who supply a letter which states their credentials and their relationship (e.g. biographer, genealogist, family member) to the individual concerned and which defines clearly the purpose of their research. Access to non-confidential material will normally be available at the College's discretion and under the supervision of library staff. Direct access to confidential records containing personal or private information will not normally be automatically granted until the death of the correspondents can be reliably established, or 25 years after their creation, whichever is later. Permission of the use of records for aggregate research (e.g. statistical data) will normally be granted provided that such research does not identify individuals. Access to other college records, including minutes and correspondence will normally be granted at the College's discretion.

Conditions governing reproduction:

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

Finding aids:

Researchers should apply to the Archivist for further information on these records.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Internal accumulation by the RCM during the course of business.

Allied Materials

Related material:

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 on Sir George Grove by C L Graves/Percy M Young, Grove Dictionary of Music; The Royal College of Music: a centenary record by H C Coles and John Cruft (Prince Consort Foundation, London, 1982).

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:
Mar 2001

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