I went to visit the Henry Watson Music Library in The Central Library with Heather and the rest of the team from the R.N.C.M. who have been working on the project, ‘Making Music in Manchester During WW1’. When we had all arrived we met Ros, the librarian who is in charge of the Henry Watson Music library, who also has musical training and is a cellist. Ros says that having some musical experience was an advantage when undertaking the music library due to the associated terminology and jargon that comes with a specialist subject area. She does say that even without any prior musical knowledge it is easy to pick up the essentials quickly and easily.
The workshops are starting, the content is nearly all online and our exhibitions are being created! It’s full steam ahead at project HQ (my desk).
We are working with Instigate Arts to design and deliver workshops which encourage creative responses to the stories we have uncovered and the material we have digitised. Inspire Centre, Levenshulme, had a jolly time of it working on a song arrangement performed at the college from just before the war.
The material we have chosen to digitise is so rich in information. We have programmes and registers from the Royal Manchester College of Music. We have a play and wartime childhood magazine written by composer Alan Rawsthorne when he was just a lad! Letters between musicians talking about how the war is affecting them and their families. Papers re internment of musicians overseas.
We have, from the Hallé Concerts Society archives, programmes from the war arranged into gorgeous little annotated notebooks from the then librarian. These show all kinds of nuances and tricky programming problems to do with the war.
From the Henry Watson Music Library, we have the notebooks of Gustav Behrens, parton to much of Manchester’s music organisations. In these he collected notices, programmes and most interestingly newspaper clippings about music making in Manchester during WW1. Full of pure gossip!
Our portable pop-up banners showing some of the most interesting stories through each collection are being designed as I type and we’re ready to put the content of those onto the wonderful digital displays at Archives+.
We’ll let you know when they’re up and about so you can nip in and see for yourself.
Still to come!
We have yet to get all the images online and will be sharing them on History Pin, too.
We have workshops that are yet to take place and we’re so excited about them.
We have yet to figure out what to do after this project ends in terms of what we want to develop. So! If you have any ideas, do get in touch!
That’s right! We’re back, this time with a fabulous pot of funds from the generous Heritage Lottery Fund. We’ve a new agenda and new horizons to catch. Let’s see what we’ve got planned.
Our new project developed from the evaluation of the previous one. Whilst of AHRC-funded project, “Making Music in Manchester during WWI” did what the project said it would do, there was definitely more that we could do with it.