‘What’s past is prologue …’
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s archives and collections are an unparalleled resource rich in both the depth and diversity of their holdings. Since its foundation as the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847 the Conservatoire’s archives have accrued many important collections of instruments, manuscripts, artworks, photographs, performance ephemera and memorabilia which are made available to researchers via our archives searchroom facility.
The Conservatoire’s Archives & Collections are located on level six of the Whisky Bond, 2 Dawson Road, Glasgow, G4 9SS, a short walk from Wallace Studios at Speirs Locks.
- Institutional Archive
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s institutional archive includes architectural drawings, Board of Governors’ minute books (1847-pres), paintings, event programmes, press cuttings, performance photographs and related ephemera, accounts and pre-current staff and student records.
- Instrument Collections
The Conservatoire’s archives contain a world-class collection of historic musical instruments numbering in excess of 800 items. The collection includes rarities such as serpents, ophicleides, keyed bugles and a horn and trombone made by famed musician and instrument designer Adolphe Sax (1814-1894) which come to us as part of the John Webb (1935 – 2014) bequest, as well as non-western musical instruments (including sundry African and Arabic instruments) exhibited by ethnomusicologist Henry George Farmer (1882-1965) in the early twentieth century.
Historic Instrument Collections
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s historic musical instrument collections are borrowable for the purposes of research and historically informed performance. Loans out are arranged on an individual basis; please contact the Archivist for more information (contact details below).
A catalogue of the RCS historic instrument collection can be found here.
- Music Manuscript Collections
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is priviledged to care for a number of collections of original and transcribed music manuscript collections, totalling over 1000 items.
Sir Ernest Bullock MSS
Sir Ernest Bullock was Principal of the Scottish National Academy of Music, which became the Royal Scottish Academy of Music under his tenure. His manuscript collection includes the original handwritten scores of the National Anthem arranged for the coronations of both Queen Elizabeth II and King George VI.
A complete catalogue of Sir Ernest Bullock MSS can be found here.
Robert Minter Collection
The Robert Minter Collection is an accrual of largely rare and early trumpet repertory gleaned from private collections and museums in the twentieth century. Over 700 original manuscripts have been either facsimile copied or transcribed by hand to create one of the largest collections of its kind in Europe.
A complete catalogue of the Robert Minter Collection can be found here.
In addition to the above, the Conservatoire also cares for a number of as yet uncatalogued music manuscript collections, including the Frank Spedding MSS, Ethel Angless MSS, Philip Halstead MSS (courtesy of the David Nicholson Collection) and the Ernest Hall trumpet method MS.
- Performers’ & Research Collections
The largest area of growth for the Royal Conservatoire’s Archives and Collections are the papers and personal ephemera of internationally noted artists, performers and researchers.
The Nell Ballantyne Collection
Nell Ballantyne was a Scottish stage and screen actress whose career spanned three decades. Originally a member of the Scottish National Players, Ballantyne starred in a number of films, including Bonnie Prince Charlie (1947) and Rockets Galore (1957).
A complete catalogue of the Nell Ballantyne Collection can be found here.
The Rita Dow Ballet Archive
Rita Dow was born in Edinburgh and attended the Royal Academy of Dance (London) in the 1930s and was an accredited ballet teacher from both the Society of Operatic Dancing (Great Britain) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance. From the mid-1940s she was Ballet Mistress for Howard & Wyndham.
A complete catalogue of the Rita Dow Archive can be found here.
The Jimmy Logan OBE Archive
Born in 1928 Jimmy Logan OBE was an actor, musician, comedian and theatre impresario whose personal papers, music, photographs, sound recordings and theatrical / performance ephemera was gifted to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Archives and Collections by his widow in 2002.
A complete catalogue of the Jimmy Logan OBE Archive can be found here.
In addition to the above the Conservatoire’s Archives also hold a number of eminent collections which are currently in the process of being catalogued, including the Friedel Keim Collection, the Edward Tarr Archive, the John Steane Collection, Edward Argent Ephemera, the Marie Dare Collection, the Horace Fellowes Papers and the David Nicholson Archive.
Access to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Archives & Collections is by appointment only. To arrange a visit please contact the Archives Officer, Stuart A. Harris-Logan, at 0141 270 8299 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please read our Archives Access Policy in advance of your visit.
If you would like to donate material or leave a bequest to the archives, please contact the Archives Officer in the first instance. Please refer to our Archives Collection Policy.