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HomeSearchGetRecordAlexandra Choir (1940-1987)

Collection Description

Collection Title
Alexandra Choir (1940-1987)
Three albums of programmes and performance ephemera by the Alexandra Choir, 1940 to 1987. In addition to programmes, the scrapbooks include the following items: press cuttings, photographs, correspondence, invitations, telegrams, tickets, and posters. The programmes frequently list choir members.

The choir was founded in 1940, in order to sing at the Henry Wood Promenade Concerts. The choir was founded by Charles Proctor – who conducted the choir until the late 1970s – and the collection includes letters from him to potential choir members from 1940. The choir was mixed and founded with around 250 singers.

The collection contains programmes from London, the provinces and a few programmes from foreign concerts: these volumes are arranged chronologically, from 1940-1948, 1949-1965 and 1966-1987. The majority of programmes in the first two volumes are from London concerts; there are many more items from provincial concerts in the 1966 to 1987 volume. Similarly, the first range of London venues in the first two volumes is more confined than the later volume: the majority of concerts took place at the Royal Albert Hall or the Royal Festival Hall (after its inception in 1951). There are a small amount of programmes and ephemera relating to concerts that took place in Queen’s Hall, during 1940 and early 1941. The collection is particularly rich in materials relating to concert life in London during World War Two – indeed, the choir is cited as being the only choir in London during the course of the war.

The other London venues represented in the collection are as follows: Duke’s Hall, Royal Academy of Music; St. Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb; Central Hall, Westminster; Hinde Street Methodist Church; Harrow School Speech Room;
St. Augustine with St. Phillip, Newark Street, Stepney [Church]; St. Saviour’s Church, Warwick Avenue; Cambridge Theatre; St. Paul’s Cathedral; St. John’s Parish Church, Hoxton; Great Cumberland Hall; Stoll Theatre, Kingsway; Orpheum, Golders Green; Town Hall, Wimbledon; Royal Adelphi Theatre; Church of the Annunciation [Bryanston Street, opp. Marble Arch]; Cockpit, Serpentine Road; St. Sepulchre’s Church, Holborn; Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, West Smithfield; Kingsway Hall; Assembly Hall, Walthamstow; Westminster Abbey; Westminster Palace; Quex Road Methodist Church [Kilburn Park]; Queen Elizabeth Hall; Odeon Theatre, Golders Green; St. Mary Abbot’s Church, Kensington; St. Jude’s Church, Courtfield Gardens, SW5; Fairfield Hall, Croydon; Southwark Cathedral; St. Augustine’s Church, Kilburn; Royal College of Music; St. John’s, Smith Square; Town Hall, Brent; Guildhall; Holy Trinity Church, Brompton; Barbican.

There are also programmes and performance ephemera from the following provincial venues: Peterborough Cathedral; Ely Cathedral; Guildford Cathedral; St. Mary the Virgin, Rye [church]; All Saint’s Church, Stamford; Cathedral, Bury St. Edmunds; Argyll Road Methodist Church, Westcliff-on-Sea; All Saints Parish Church, Marlow;
Parish Church of St. Peter, Bexhill-on-Sea [Sussex]; Old School, Hadleigh; Arundel Cathedral; St. John’s Church, West Meon; Cathedral, Durham; Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea; Rochester Cathedral; St. Mary’s Church, Potters Bar; St. Edmundsbury Cathedral. There is a programme from St. Giles-in-the-Field Church, where the town or city of the church is not known.

The collection contains some materials relating to concerts in foreign venues. The most significant of these, are materials relating to a post-war exchange visit by the choir to The Netherlands in 1946. The collection contains programmes, reviews, photographs and newspaper announcements concerning their performances in the Concertgebauw [Amsterdam] and Gebouw voor Kunsten e Wetenschappen, ‘s-Gravenhage [The Hague]. The exchanging choir was the Zang na Studie; they visited England in 1947 and the collection contains programmes, memorabilia and organising documents from the visit. The collection contains a small number of programmes from other foreign visits by the Alexandra Choir: these include other concerts in the Concertgebauw and a concert in Scandinavium, Gothenburg.

The majority of programmes in the collection are from concerts of choral music, including oratorios and other large-scale choral works. In the earlier programmes, the majority of concerts which required an orchestra were accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra. However, the later programmes show a wider disparity in orchestra engaged. Charles Proctor is listed as conductor – either as the conductor of the concert or the conductor of the choir, where another conductor conducted the concert – until the end of 1978. David Hill is listed as conductor from the 1979-1980 season onwards.
Date range of collection
1940 - 1987
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated Places

Location Details

Royal Academy of Music, Library
Marylebone Road London NW1 5HT
Open Map
020 7873 7323
020 7873 7322
Visiting Information
Term-Time Opening Hours: Monday to Friday: 9.00–18.00 Saturdays: 9.00–12.00 (Junior Academy terms only) Vacation hours vary and are advertised in the Library Information section in the on-line Unicorn Catalogue.
Collections Overview
Books; printed music; sound recordings; choral sets; orchestral sets; manuscripts; early printed music & books; undergraduate & research
For details of other collections held at the same location: See the location record

Additional Collection Information

Accrual Status
Related Publications
Management Information (Type)
Collection Owner(s)
Collection Creator(s)
Collection Collector(s)
Collection Custodians(s)
Associated Collection(s)
Cardif University (Prifysgol Caerdydd)Royal College of Music LondonMuseums, Libraries and Archives Council