Most volumes in the collection contain a manuscript index, which is attached to the volume. These indexes list the items performed and corresponding page number. The programmes contain words to the items sung.
The programmes are from concerts that took place in St. James’s Hall (-1893), Queen’s Hall (1894-1907; 1927-1933) and Royal Albert Hall (1907-1927). At certain points in the collection, the programmes are from concerts that took place at regular points during the week; for instance, early programmes in the collection are from concerts given on Wednesdays.
The number of concerts per series varied; from approximately 1867 to 1903, there were frequently at least 12 concerts per season, occasionally more. The number of concerts appeared to have dropped after this time: for instance, there were eight concerts in 1912-1913, yet only four in 1928-1929. The final season represented in this collection – from the 1933 season – contained only one concert in the entire season.
The programmes are from concerts that consisted largely of vocal music. The concerts consisted chiefly of solo items; however later programmes in the collection also include choral items, and a few concert performances of opera. Solo vocal items were taken from a variety of sources, including light opera, serious opera and oratorio. Programmes often included a few instrumental items interspersed with the vocal items.
The collection includes a small amount of programmes from Morning Ballad Concerts. There are also a few miscellaneous programmes from, for instance, a Boosey’s Evening Recital in the Wigmore Hall.
The programmes are arranged chronologically.