The collection contains programmes from summer and winter Promenade concert seasons. The early concerts were presented by Robert Newman: the BBC organised the series from 1927 until 1939. The majority of programmes in the collection were from concerts given by one of the following orchestras: the Queen’s Hall Orchestra (1896-1914), New Queen’s Hall Orchestra (1915-1926) and the BBC Symphony Orchestra (1930-1939). A large number of programmes in the collection are from concerts conducted by Henry Wood.
The collection is not complete but there are at least a few programmes from most prom seasons. The lack of any programmes from 1900 and 1901 in the collection is an important exception to this. The collection contains a few bound volumes for certain series which are often, but not always, complete. There is a complete or virtually complete set of programmes for the Saturday night series held form late 1896 to the end of spring 1897. There are also complete or virtually complete sets of programmes for 1898 and 1899. The winter seasons of 1932-1933, 1934-1935 and 1935-1936 are also complete. There is a complete or virtually complete set of programmes for the 1940 season.
Though collection is most dense in the 1930s, and the density of programmes in the collection increases with time, there are also a lot of programmes from the late 1890s. Overall, there is the same amount of boxes (three) for 1896-1931 as there are for the period 1932-1940, a period almost a quarter of the time span.
The collection is chiefly arranged chronologically. Though the material loosely falls into two sizes – large full-size programmes and smaller standard-sized programmes – this chiefly fits with the chronological arrangement. The only exception to this are the years 1924 and 1925: here there is some overlap with both large and small programmes in the collection for the same year. In the case of these two years, the programmes are arranged first by size and then chronologically.