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HomeSearchGetRecordEnglish Provinces: Manchester: Free Trade Hall (1845-1996)

Collection Description

Collection Title
English Provinces: Manchester: Free Trade Hall (1845-1996)
A collection of 23 boxes of programmes from the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, from 1845 to 1996. The collection includes programmes, prospectuses as well as a number of press cuttings, pieces of correspondence and other items of performance ephemera.

The collection includes programmes from the original Free Trade Hall(s) of the 1840s, though the majority of items are from the Free Trade Hall (1856-1996). Programmes from the Lesser Free Trade Hall are catalogued separately, under the title "Lesser Free Trade Hall".

The earliest programme in the collection dates from 1 September 1845. This is a programme from a concert entitled "A Grand Miscellaneous Concert", where the "principle feature" is described as the "National Ballads of Europe". The principle performers are listed as follows: Madame Anaide Castellan, Miss Dolby, Miss Maria B. Hawes, Mr. Wilson, Signor Brizzi, Herr Staudigl, Signor Fornasari. In addition, other musicians are listed as "Giulio Recondi" (Concertina), "Mr. C.A. Seymour" (Leader) and Signor Orsini (Conductor).

There is a concert-bill from a concert given on April 8 1848, entitled "Mons. Jullien's Grand Vocal and Instrumental Concert". The artists included (Mr.) Sims Reeves (tenor), Henry Whitworth (baritone), Miss Miran (contralto), Herr Koenig (principle cornet-a-piston), Mr. Baker (leader) and Mr. Jullien (conductor).

This is followed by a programme from 1863. Though the programme is undated, the programme is described as having taken place in 1863. The programme describes two gala concerts given on 19 and 20 November, featuring Jenny Lind (-Goldschmidt). The first was conducted by Charles Hallé and second by Otto Goldschmidt. The first concert included L'Allegro ed il Penseroso (Handel) and the second was a performance of Elijah (Mendelssohn). Other performers who are described as assisting the performance are as follows: Madame Sherrington; Miss Palmer; Miss S. Cole; Mr. Wilbye Cooper; Mr. L. Thomas.

The remainder of the collection dates from 1879 onwards. There are seventeen programmes from concerts given from 1879 to 1900, from concerts given as part of the series "Sir Charles Hallé's Grand Concerts". The concerts were conducted by Charles Hallé and the majority of programmes are from large-scale choral concerts.

The majority of programmes from 1901 to 1940 are from concerts given by the Hallé Concert Society, usually featuring the Hallé Orchestra. These include a significant number of programmes from concerts conducted by Hans Richter and Hamilton Harty. A large number of programmes do not explicitly state the venue. However, seating plans within the season prospectuses and external histories of the society and orchestra indicate that these concerts were given in the Free Trade Hall. Other series represented in this part of the collection are the Northern Proms, Municipal Concerts (given by the Hallé Orchestra) and the Brand Lane Orchestral concerts. While concerts were usually orchestral or choral, occasional programmes are from recitals.

The hall was severely bomb-damaged in 1940, and the last programmes from the hall date from 1939 – the Hallé Orchestra moved its concerts series to alternative venues in Manchester for war-time reasons for the 1939-1940 season. The programmes from the rebuilt Free Trade Hall date from 1951 onwards. While there are reasonable quantities of programmes from the 1950s and 1970s, there are hardly any programmes in the collection from the 1960s. The largest part of the collection is from the 1980s and 1990s, where the amount of material grows exponentially. The post-war material is largely from concerts given organised by the Hallé Concert Society, usually featuring the Hallé Orchestra. However, the collection also contains programmes from concerts given by visiting ensembles. The collection finishes in 1996, when the hall ceased to be a concert hall. The hall was later converted into the Radisson Edwardian Hotel. The last programme in the collection is from a concert given by the Hallé Orchestra on 19 May 1996 – though other concerts were given in the hall during the summer of 1996. The concert on 19 May was the closing concert of the Hallé Orchestra 1995-1996 season, and was attended by Princess Margaret.

The programmes are arranged chronologically. Non-programme materials such as press cuttings and prospectuses are kept with their corresponding programmes, or other programmes close in date.
Date range of collection
1845 - 1996
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
Associated Places
This collection is about

Location Details

Royal College Of Music, Library
London SW7 2BS
Open Map
020 7591 4723
Visiting Information
Mon-Fri by appointment
Building Information
The CPH collections now form part of the RCM Library. The majority of the concert programme collections are stored off-site so you need to request items before arriving. Requests for programmes are processed on Thursday for delivery to the library the following week. The Library itself is open Monday to Friday during term times and Tuesday to Friday during vacations. We can advise you about our hours when you contact us.
Display Overview
NEW CONTACT DETAILS: 020 7591 4723; [email protected]
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