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Elgar Archive Update – 18th June 2018

  • 18th June 2018

We’ve been blown away by the support we’ve received since the news that Edward Elgar’s archive is being moved from the Elgar Birthplace Museum to the British Library and not to Worcestershire’s county archives here in The Hive as we had hoped. Thank you very much!

 

We want to update you on the latest situation. Since we shared the news we’ve received letters and emails of support from local residents, politicians, societies, organisations, and other regional archives. People have also been in touch to offer their help and we know that many of them have written to the Elgar Foundation asking for them to reconsider. If you want to contact the Elgar Foundation directly it would help if you sent a copy of your letter to our Collections Manager, Adrian Gregson (agregson3@worcestershire.gov.uk), so we are aware of what is happening.

 

Some of the people we’ve been speaking to have also offered to be advocates and to help to publicise the reasons we believe Elgar’s archive should stay in Worcestershire. We are very appreciative of these offers and you will see the results of their work soon.

 

Last Friday a short article and a letter signed by 43 of our high profile supporters was published in The Times. The purpose of this was to take the case for the archive to remain in Worcestershire to a national level.

An online petition is now set up https://www.change.org/p/the-elgar-foundation-keep-the-edward-elgar-archives-here-in-worcestershire. Please support us and share this link with any of your contacts.

 

In response to the letter in The Times, a press release from the County Council was sent out to the media and we’ve reproduced this below.

 

Press Release – Petition launched to keep Elgar archives in Worcestershire

 

A petition has been launched to ensure the archives of Worcestershire’s very own Edward Elgar remain in Worcestershire.

 

Worcestershire is regarded as a great place for local residents and visitors alike to go and learn about the famous composer and about his vast contribution to music that has spanned so many years and it would be desirable that this continue.

 

The Elgar Foundation, responsible for the archives, has made the decision to relocate the collection to the British Library in London from their current location at the Elgar Birthplace Museum in Broadheath despite efforts to keep them in Worcestershire.

 

A strong case has been made for the collection to remain in Worcester at The Hive, where the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service is based, which was reiterated in a letter published in The Times today, with numerous signatories.

 

The Hive is Europe’s first joint university and public library but is also home to Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service which was awarded UK Record Keeper of the Year in 2017. It already holds nationally and internationally important archives, such as playwright William Shakespeare’s marriage bond. Its resources include seven strong rooms with conservation and digitisation facilities and a light and airy public space all staffed by specialists supported by a community and schools team. It is jointly owned by the University of Worcester and Worcestershire County Council.

 

A petition has now been launched by Councillor Lucy Hodgson on Change.org in the hope that the Elgar Foundation will reverse their decision.

 

Councillor Hodgson, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Communities, said: “We don’t want to lose these archives and we are very disappointed by the Foundation’s decision to relocate them over 100 miles away to London.

 

“Elgar was born here in Worcestershire and died here and this county was the inspiration behind most of his music.

 

“We really hope as many people as possible will support our petition and hope that the Foundation will listen and keep these archives where they belong.”

 

The Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra, originally established with the help of Sir Edward Elgar over 100 years ago, recently performed his iconic Cello Concerto in St Martin’s Church, Worcester, under the baton of its Musical Director Keith Slade with Worcester’s own Richard Jenkinson as soloist.

 

Mr Slade, who has joined the group of people calling for the archives to stay, said: “Elgar is a huge part of our heritage in Worcestershire, he was born here, he lived here and died here and in the words of his daughter Carice ‘Worcestershire was everything to him’.

 

“The emotional experience of studying his scores whilst been surrounded by the elements that inspired Elgar to compose these great works is hugely powerful.

 

“The petition calls on the Trustees of the Elgar Foundation to meet with representatives from the County Council, the University and other interested parties to revisit their decision as soon as possible and to consider that the archives are moved instead to The Hive in the centre of Worcester.”

 

Paul West, the former Chief Constable of West Mercia Police, who plays viola in the Worcestershire Symphony Orchestra, added: “Worcestershire is a county that is rich in history and heritage of all types.

 

“I believe we all have a moral duty to do whatever we can to protect it and to celebrate it, not only for our own generation but also for the generations to come.”

 

The petition calls on the Trustees of the Elgar Foundation to meet with representatives from the County Council and other interested parties to revisit their decision as soon as possible and to consider that the archives are moved instead to The Hive in the centre of Worcester.

 

To sign the petition go to https://www.change.org/p/the-elgar-foundation-keep-the-edward-elgar-archives-here-in-worcestershire

4 responses to “Elgar Archive Update – 18th June 2018”

  1. rita roberts says:

    I most certainly do think that the Edward Elgar Archives should remain in Worcester where they belong.

  2. Phaedra Casey, Archivist says:

    Excellent letter.

  3. Richard Westwood-Brookes says:

    When is Worcestershire going to fight for its heritage ? NOW is the time! We’ve lost the Elgar music shop in Worcester High Street, where Elgar learned his music. We’ve lost the house on Rainbow Hill, Worcester where he spent his final years. Both demolished ! Now we are set to lose his archive to London – and once it’s gone it will never come back. Now is the time for Worcester to realise that Elgar is as important to world music as Shakespeare is to literature. Look what Stratford gets out of Shakespeare. Surely Worcester can do the same for our greatest composer ? Let’s fight and fight again to keep this unbelievable treasure in his home City.

    • Paul Hudson says:

      Hi. We agree that we need to keep the archive here. We are busy working with lots of people across the county (and beyond) to try and ensure the archive remains in the Worcestershire. We’ve been writing to lots of people to gather support and discuss the best ways the spread the message, and we have been inundated with messages from those who have written to the Elgar Foundation. Any help through writing a letter, signing/sharing the petitions and passing the message on is much appreciated.

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