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This chapter discusses George Grove’s success in his choice of staff and the quality of his leadership in knitting together the wide range of musical characters and personalities into a cohesive educational body. There are some vignettes of the early staff, illustrated by a photograph which vividly captures them at the laying of the foundation stone of the new building in 1890. Grove’s letters to his confidante, Edith Oldham, capture some of the personalities and the day-to-day strains of their working together, and these are quoted to give a more realistic sense of the College in its early days than has been given before. The second part of the chapter looks at why Parry was chosen as the College’s second Director and looks at his musical and strategic limitations. Parry’s bitter feuding with Stanford – a defining characteristic of his time as Director – is examined. The chapter shows that Stanford (not Parry) was the RCM’s musical director and explains how this greatly benefitted the College, and that the need for this dual leadership was recognized by the RCM Council.
This chapter discusses the problems caused by the inadequacy of the College’s first home, and the practical and symbolic significance that the College’s grand new building represented (given by Samson Fox and designed by Arthur Blomfield). The text discusses the process of securing the RCM’s site from the Commissioners for the 1851 Exhibition, and the architectural designs considered necessary for such a prominent site. Some of the main aspects of the building process are discussed, including the issues of soundproofing. Because of cost overrun, it was not possible to build a concert hall, and a temporary building was in use until finances permitted the College to build the present concert hall, which was inaugurated in 1901. The second part of the chapter looks at how the College was financed and the many prominent public figures who lent their names to the College governance and financial committees. The First World War effectively brought a suspension of College life, and the chapter concludes with a brief summary of some wartime activities.
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