This site is designed so that its contents are accessible to every type of browser. You browser, however, may not support basic Web standards, preventing the display of our site's design details. You are encouraged to upgrade to a more standards compliant browser.

Search: Advanced Search
HomeSearchGetRecordLondon: Crystal Palace (1856-1967)

Collection Description

Collection Title
London: Crystal Palace (1856-1967)
A collection of programmes from Crystal Palace, London. The collection dates from 1856 onwards, with the majority of material dating from the nineteenth century. The collection refers to the Crystal Palace as rebuilt in Sydenham in 1854, rather than the earlier Hyde Park building.

The majority of programmes in the collection are from a series of concerts held on Saturdays, known in later years of the series as the “Saturday Concerts”. The collection contains “Saturday Concert” programmes from 1856 through to 1904 – the series started in 1855 – though a sizeable majority of the programmes are from the 1880s and 1890s. The collection is by no means complete, and the programmes for this series are split between loose programmes and bound volumes, which are not mutually exclusive in their contents. The “Saturday Concert” programmes form the bulk of the contents of the bound volumes, and there are 135 programmes from the series in the boxes of loose programmes. The “Saturday Concert” programmes are chiefly from orchestral concerts, given by the Crystal Palace Saturday Orchestra - later the Grand Crystal Palace Saturday Orchestra – and conducted by August Manns. The programmes are from concerts that often featured longer symphonic works, as well as frequently featuring solo numbers for vocalists and/or instrumentalists. Occasionally the programmes represent concerts that were entirely or included choral works, featuring the Crystal Palace Choir.

The collection also contains programmes from concerts other than “Saturday Concerts”. For example, there are programmes from Manns Benefit Concerts, which were given at various points in the nineteenth century. There are a variety of programmes from concerts which took place in the twentieth century: these include orchestral concerts, large-scale choral concerts and some concert performances of opera. There is also a separate sequence of ca. 11 programmes from the National Band Festival – which first took place in 1900 – from the years 1921-1930 and 1934. Some of the programmes from this competitive festival contain loose press cuttings, which list prize winners of the festival. Some of the programmes contain loose sheet music of pieces examined in the festival. The collection also contains programmes from 1955 to 1975. These programmes represent orchestral concerts given by various orchestras during this period, including concerts given in the Crystal Palace Concert Bowl – an outdoor venue – from the years 1961 to 1967.

The collection contains other items of performance ephemera, which include press cuttings, a letter, leaflets and a photocopy of a review of a Crystal Palace concert in a musical journal. In addition, the collection contains a few bibliographic items including publications of lists of music performed at the “Saturday Concerts” from 1855-1895.

The collection is split between boxes of loose programmes and bound volumes. The bound volumes are arranged chronologically, and range from 1856 to 1901. However, there is often more than one volume covering any given time period. Though each volume is chronologically arranged, the overall sequence of bound volumes is not entirely linear. The boxes of loose programmes are also arranged chronologically and generally follow one linear sequence. However, there are exceptions to this. Material from the National Band Contest concerts is filed separately, at the end of the main chronological sequence. Performance ephemera items and oversize programmes are generally filed at the front of the box to which they relate, regardless of their exact chronological position within the main sequence of programmes.
Date range of collection
1856 - 1967
Accumulation Dates
Suggested Audience
Not Specific
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