22nd Jul, 2019

Plan to move Elgar papers sparks alarm

Craig Gibbons 30th May, 2018

COUNTY chiefs have called on a Worcester group dedicated to preserving the legacy of Sir Edward Elgar to scrap proposals to move the composer’s archive from Lower Broadheath to London.

Coun Lucy Hodgson is leading the appeal after she discovered the Elgar Foundation was proposing to move the treasure trove of documents from the composer to the British Library in the capital.

Should the move go ahead, it will mean Worcestershire will not hold the archive of one of the county’s most famous sons for the first time in more than half a century.

The archives were first deposited with the county’s record office in 1966 by his daughter Carice Irena and were then transferred to the newly-refurbished Elgar Birthplace Museum in 2002.

Coun Hodgson urged foundation chiefs to consider the Worcestershire Archive and Archaelogy Service (WAAS) as the ‘clear choice’ to house the vital records.

WAAS was one of the first archives in the country to be accredited by the National Archives and won the prestigious Record Keepers of the Year award in 2017.

“Worcestershire is the county where Elgar was born, lived, died and is buried. It is also the place where he gained so much of his musical inspiration,” she said.

“It would truly be a shame to see this piece of history be taken away from Worcestershire, a place where Elgar is honoured and celebrated each year at the Elgar Festival and a place which obviously meant so much to Sir Edward Elgar and his family.

“There are many scholars and others who care very much about Elgar, and who come to Worcestershire to carry out research in the archives, and we want them to keep coming here, not to go to London.”

Based at the Hive, the archive service team already hold and promote nationally and internationally important archives.

An example of the hundreds of thousands of documents in their care is William Shakespeare’s marriage bond.

Despite repeated attempts by the Observer, no-one from the Elgar Foundation was available for comment.

A National Trust spokesman said: “The National Trust is responsible for the day to day operation of The Firs – birthplace of Sir Edward Elgar, formely the Elgar Birthplace Museum.

“We are not responsible for where the Elgar archives are stored.

“Any decision regarding the archives and possible change of location will be made by The Elgar Foundation.”

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