The history of the collection
Because of his local associations, Surrey libraries had accrued much material connected with the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams
and the Leith Hill musical festival.
In the late 1970s a start was made to establish a Ralph Vaughan Williams collection of published books, scores and recordings. Since then, the collection has grown with the acquisition of most subsequently published books on the composer, reprints of his own writings, new publications and editions of his scores and some of the now vast quantity of his music issued on compact disc. Additionally, local publications, programmes, cuttings, pictures and other materials have been added to the collection.
Since the move of the library to Denbies in 2000, it has been enhanced by a permanent display on Ralph Vaughan Williams' life and works. It is intended to add audio facilities to this display in the future.
About the collection
The collection is situated on the first floor of the library. Disabled access is available. The collection comprises around 70 books, 300 scores, 200 LP records, 200 + compact discs, all of which are available for loan directly from the Performing Arts Library or through any other Surrey library. The printed items are also available via regional inter-library loan to any other library in the UK.
The Ralph Vaughan Williams Choral Archive
A comprehensive collection of his smaller choral works covering his own and other arrangements issued by various publishers.
The following collections, housed at the Performing Arts Library, are owned by Leith Hill music festival and the Ralph Vaughan Williams Society respectively and are only available for use in the library by prior arrangement with the librarian. They are available for study purposes during normal library opening hours, where, additionally, cd listening facilities are provided.
The Vaughan Williams Orchestral Library
His own library of orchestral performance materials (mostly orchestral parts), used mainly when he was conductor of the Leith Hill musical festival (1904 – 53). Contains works by Bach, Handel, Parry and others. Available to researchers for study in the library only, with some of the materials on occasional display.
The Vaughan Williams Sound and Vision Archive
A growing collection of interviews and reminiscences of people who knew or worked with Vaughan Williams, with some additional documentary material, mostly on dvd. Notable inclusions so far are Roy Douglas and Michael Kennedy.
The bookstock of the collection is listed in:
Muncy,G and Barber, R.
Ralph Vaughan Williams – A Bibliography
Ralph Vaughan Williams Society 1995
Most of the collection is listed on the Surrey library catalogue, available at the Performing Arts Library, at all other Surrey libraries and on the Internet.
For further information
Ralph Vaughan Williams Society
The society was founded in 1994 with the aims of widening knowledge and encouraging performance of the composer's works.
Details are available from the secretary:
Dr David Betts
30 Tivoli Road
East Sussex BN1 5BH
Tel: 01273 501118
- The Vaughan Williams manuscripts. The majority of these are now held at the British Library, 96 Euston Rd. London NW1 2DB. Tel: 0207-412-7751
- Vaughan Williams and folk song. Information on Ralph Vaughan Williams as a collector and promoter of English folk dance and music is obtainable from: English Folk Dance and Song Society, Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Rd. London NW1 7AY (0207-284-0523) www.efdss.org
- Vaughan Williams’ Birthplace, the Vicarage, Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, is not open to the public. However, a permanent display on Ralph Vaughan Williams' life and works, is available in the Parish Church, All Saints. (Team Ministry: 01285-860221)
- Leith Hill Place , Ralph Vaughan Williams' childhood home, is owned by the National Trust but is not open to the public. Surrounding woodlands with walks are open all year. (For further information phone: 01306-711777)
- Leith Hill Musical Festival, held annually in the spring at the Dorking Halls (see below) is a thriving local evant, often including works by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Further details from: The Festival Society, 59 Eastwick Park Avenue, Great Bookham, Surrey KT23 3LZ (01372-458811) www.1hmf.supanet.com
- Dorking Halls, Reigate Rd. Dorking, has both a commemorative plaque and a statue of Ralph Vaughan Williams outside.