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 via our archives search room 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.
- Instrument Collections
The Conservatoire’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments, originating before World War II, was greatly enhanced by the acquisition of the collection of John Webb in 2012 and continues to attract important additions. Of a total collection of some 500 historic musical instruments, the 420 instruments in the John Webb Collection includes 290 brasswind which constitute a world-renowned collection.
The instruments date almost entirely from the long 19th century, a period of great change in wind instrument design, and thus the collection includes a large proportion of the historically important models of woodwind and especially brasswind. The combined collection includes a good representation of the instruments used in orchestras, bands, and domestic music-making in this period.
The Collection is particularly strong in British instruments, but with significant French, German and Italian examples. The collection of keyed brass is particularly fine, with many examples of keyed bugles and ophicleides. The Collection includes a number of items important in the history of brass instruments, notably including the silver slide trumpet belonging to Thomas Harper Jnr., the Besson valve trumpet of Sir Malcolm Arnold, and several instruments from John Wallace.
A catalogue of the RCS historic instrument collection can be found here.
- Music Manuscript Collections
The Conservatoire’s archives hold a large number of original music manuscripts together with rare and early published music. This includes original manuscript music by Sir Ernest Bullock, Frank Spedding, Philip Halstead and Sir Philip Ledger amongst others, as well as important and signed published music scores by Hindemith, Handel, Bach and many others. Please contact the Archives Officer for more information in the first instance.
- Performers’ & Research Collections
Our collections also include the Jimmy Logan Archive, the Pickard Papers, the Ed Tarr Colleciton, the Friedel Keim Collection, Erik Chisholm Archive and many more of historical and scholarly value. Please contact the Archives Officer for more information in the first instance.
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.