I had the pleasure of looking through the student registers to find students whose place at the RNCM was paid for by the government, as part of a post-war scheme.
If you look through the student registers, you will find certain students whose ‘responsible person’ is either the Board of Education, War Pensions, Ministry of Labour or Local War Pensions. This means that their place at the RNCM was paid for by the government after WW1.
I found this very interesting as I was unaware that the government had set up a scheme which enabled soldiers who had been a musician prior to the war, to go back to college to continue their studies. It’s also interesting the notice the range of ages of the students, some young and some older than the rest of the students.
In my opinion, I think this was a great way of helping people to try and go back to normal life after the devastation of the war. I also think it would have been a type of escapism for ex-soldiers, as music can be used as a distraction from real-life.
What was also curious was noticing how many terms these students stayed at the RNCM for; some staying for quite a number of terms but the majority staying for less than 10. Upon discussing the reasons for this, we concluded that it was either because these students were struggling with life post-war or because the government could only pay their tuition fees for a certain number of terms.
It was definitely interesting discovering the number of soldiers, who had been musicians or students at the RNCM prior to the war, who were able to return to playing and learning music through the government scheme.
By Jessica Watson, volunteer.