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Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance

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mattkeen 21 Jul 10 - 11:53 AM
Howard Jones 21 Jul 10 - 11:55 AM
The Sandman 21 Jul 10 - 12:34 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 01:04 PM
greg stephens 21 Jul 10 - 01:39 PM
greg stephens 21 Jul 10 - 01:42 PM
GUEST,Eh? 21 Jul 10 - 01:48 PM
greg stephens 21 Jul 10 - 02:28 PM
oggie 21 Jul 10 - 02:41 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 02:46 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 10 - 02:47 PM
Jack Campin 21 Jul 10 - 03:04 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 03:16 PM
Howard Jones 21 Jul 10 - 03:28 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 03:59 PM
Steve Gardham 21 Jul 10 - 04:30 PM
Jack Campin 21 Jul 10 - 04:39 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Jul 10 - 05:04 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 05:19 PM
oggie 21 Jul 10 - 05:28 PM
GUEST,Ralphie 21 Jul 10 - 05:28 PM
The Sandman 21 Jul 10 - 05:55 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 06:06 PM
Jim Carroll 21 Jul 10 - 07:12 PM
mattkeen 22 Jul 10 - 04:55 AM
Vic Smith 22 Jul 10 - 06:25 AM
greg stephens 22 Jul 10 - 07:23 AM
GUEST 22 Jul 10 - 07:41 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 10 - 07:44 AM
greg stephens 22 Jul 10 - 08:15 AM
The Borchester Echo 22 Jul 10 - 08:26 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 10 - 08:47 AM
Edthefolkie 22 Jul 10 - 09:44 AM
The Sandman 22 Jul 10 - 10:08 AM
greg stephens 22 Jul 10 - 10:13 AM
Steve Gardham 22 Jul 10 - 02:21 PM
Jim Carroll 24 Jul 10 - 01:05 PM
brezhnev 24 Jul 10 - 01:32 PM
Vic Smith 25 Jul 10 - 06:03 AM
Will Fly 25 Jul 10 - 06:30 AM
Billy Weeks 26 Jul 10 - 06:24 AM
The Borchester Echo 26 Jul 10 - 02:25 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Jul 10 - 02:54 PM
brezhnev 26 Jul 10 - 04:11 PM
The Sandman 26 Jul 10 - 04:40 PM
Steve Gardham 26 Jul 10 - 05:22 PM
The Sandman 27 Jul 10 - 08:29 AM
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The Sandman 27 Jul 10 - 01:39 PM
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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: mattkeen
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 11:53 AM

Whats wrong with learning a song from a recording?

Regurgitating the same is a different matter
But many people learn from CD's (Voice of the People anyone?) then work on a version of their own


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 11:55 AM

Of course club floorsingers and occasional semi-pros regurgitate songs from someone else's CD, they always have done. However in a great many cases the professionals making those albums have obtained those songs and tunes from sources in the VWML. That is what I meant in my earlier post about the material being disseminated throughout the folk scene. There are probably a great many singers who, without realising it or having visited it themselves, rely on material from the Library. I include myself.

People repeat the mantra about the importance of the Library because it is true. Have you any reason to think people aren't using it, or that the drawbacks you describe actually cause problems in practice?

I can't comment on the suitability of C# House for the Library. I share the view that the building is now out of date. However disposing of the site is not without problems - not just planning, but I seem to recall there are conditions in the trust. But even if the building could be sold and capital released, both EFDSS and VWML would have to be rehoused.

Any alternative HQ for the EFDSS would have to be in London in order to be able to lobby the arts establishment and funding organisations - although some people would prefer to believe otherwise, it has to be involved with the arts world and that is the only way it can have any influence or obtain significant funding.

Likewise, London is the most accessible location for most people coming not only from around the UK but overseas. No location will suit everyone, but the idea that Camden Town is difficult to get to does not bear scrutiny.

Derby is 1 1/2 hrs from London by train. Because I would need to change at least once, it takes a similar time from where I live in Cheshire, which is only 40 miles away - Euston takes only 20 minutes more.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 12:34 PM

HOWARD, it must be much quicker for you to drive to Derby.
"Any alternative HQ for the EFDSS would have to be in London in order to be able to lobby the arts establishment and funding organisations - although some people would prefer to believe otherwise, it has to be involved with the arts world and that is the only way it can have any influence or obtain significant funding."Quote
WHY whats wrong with birmingham OR manchester or the midlands,for lobbying arts establishment for funding.
I used to live and run a folk club in suffolk, and i lobbyed for funding from EASTERN ARTS :successfully.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 01:04 PM

"I can only assume that it is some time since you have been there."
Hi Vic,
It is a little over two years since I was there last, when a gang of us from Ireland did a Traditional Song Forum day on Irish song.
I don't know what has happeed since and would be interested to learn.
Is there more user-space in the library; is there space to accept collections and display them or are they either turned down or locked in cupboards; are there now acceptable listening facilities or do you still have to crouch over that long cupboard top?
I'm not in any way disputing what you say - I want to know.
One of the strongest arguments for selling the House was not its location - wherever it is located is going to cause problems for somebody.
The main argument was that the building was unsuitable for all-round use, the hall dominated the premises, was not really suitable for concerts due to its lousy accoustic and was really only usable for the dancers; its high ceiling meant it cost a fortune to heat, which was a severe drain on the Society's resources.
The space in library was totally inadequate (filled to capacity over twenty years ago) and not able to be moved upstairs as was once planned because the floor there was incapable of supporting the weight.
The main argument for keeping it, as I remember, was that it was a shrine to Cecil Sharp and should be cherished as such - which led to a plaque to him being placed on the front of the building (is the entrance in the front - it always confused me?
I do know the building well as I carried out a great deal of electrical work there.
I have to confess that my relationship with the Society has blown hot and cold down the years, but now that I am preparing our own personal archive for depositing for 'posterity' I confess that, despite its shortcomings, it is by far the greatest asset that British folk music has and has to be respected and developed as such, and if a building gets in he way - tough.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 01:39 PM

For obvious historical reasons, the country's transport system radiates from London. It's a fact that it's easy to get to London from Exeter or Bristol or Manchester or Carlisle or Newcastle or Crewe or Derby or Norwich or whatever(or Cardiff and Glasgow and Edinburgh). What is not easy is to get between most of these subsidiary centres. That's why C Sharp Houise is best placed in London. Obviously, the very best solution would be if the whole of London was moved to Stoke-on-Trent, but that is not going to happen. Or not in the immediately foeseeable future.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 01:42 PM

Re Jim's remarks about the library being very cramped. This is undoubtedly true; but it is also true that in all the years I have been researching there, I have never yet failed to find space to spread my stuff out and work.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: GUEST,Eh?
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 01:48 PM

This discussion started with the following question: 'The VWML is situated at C Sharp house in London, how important is it to the 21 century English folk revival?'

Apart from the thread providing more information about the UK's railway system than anyone really needs to know, I'm puzzled by the phrase '21st century English folk revival'. OK, the OP didn't exactly write that, but what does it mean?


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: greg stephens
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 02:28 PM

Well, there is a folk revival happening, and this is the 21st cewntury. I imagine that is what the Good Soldier meant.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: oggie
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 02:41 PM

There is perhaps one "relatively" simple solution but it has it's own problems. Does the EFDSS need the main concert hall and some of it's other spaces in their current form? Would it be practical to remodel the interior into an enlarged Library and education space with practice/teaching studios?

I don't know, I suppose it depends how central to the EFDSS running events at C# House is (and the income from hiring out space). I accept that this doesn't answer the location question raised by GSS but given the importance of the VWML it might allow for further expansion both of it and the education work of the EFDSS.

Just a random thought :)

Steve


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 02:46 PM

Greg
"I have never yet failed to find space....."
With respect, I rather think that this is due to the miniscule people who use the library, (not unconnected to the building itself), rather than there being adequate space. I also spent a great deal of time working there, as an electrician, as a researcher and as a volunteer working to improve the sound collection.
My point that there is inadequate space to house manuscript and book collections and less than adequate listening facilities surely are vital ones to any specialist library of this type.
The argument for sale of the building at the time was that the administrative side of the Society's work could easily be carried out from a small office, the library could be housed elsewheer (I believe there were a number of educational institutions interested at the time, and premises the recrational side activities could be easily acquired at the price the building would fetch on the market.
I still don't know if my assessment of library and soun space still applies.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 02:47 PM

"Re Jim's remarks about the library being very cramped. This is undoubtedly true; but it is also true that in all the years I have been researching there, I have never yet failed to find space to spread my stuff out and work."quoteG Stephens[for fecking JACK Campin sake]
1.could it be because there was no one else there.
2. how often have Howard Jones and Greg Stephens used the library in the last year, are you in there every week?


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 03:04 PM

I have never yet failed to find space.....
With respect, I rather think that this is due to the miniscule people who use the library


The only place I've seen a library like that was the one at the Scottish Mining Museum (I'm not sure where it's gone, they had to sell the building). It was laid out to suit people who were used to working in four-foot seams. You couldn't get at half the stock without ducking under something to reach it.

I don't think any of the suggestions have been radical enough to meet GSS's requirements. Obviously what the VWML needs to do is make the library itself come to the users. Mount it on a train, garaged in Crewe or Darlington, and have it do weekly tours of England all the way from Penzance to Carlisle via Ipswich and Hull.

Or alternatively mount it on a canal boat based on the Bridgewater Canal and touring England on a schedule lasting a few months. They'd need to get one seaworthy enough to serve users in the Isle of Wight.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 03:16 PM

Sorry - just noticed "due to the miniscule people who use the library" - it was not my intention to be rude to small people (being around 5'8" myself)
I should have written 'due to the miniscule NUMBER of people who use the library, of course.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Howard Jones
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 03:28 PM

I haven't been to C# House for many years, but the reason hasn't been the difficulty of getting there.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the building is suitable, and I have no sentimental attachment to it. However when I start to think where else it could be situated, then there seems to be no realistic alternative to London. Most other locations would be even more difficult to get to for the majority of people, many of whom would have to go via London anyway (you mentioned Suffolk: Ipswich to Derby takes more than 3 hours and goes via London St Pancras).

Dick, for me Derby takes about as long by car as it would by train. Just because the Midlands are in the middle of the country doesn't mean they're accessible to everyone.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 03:59 PM

In 1987 Malcolm Taylor (VWML librarian), Pat Mackenzie an I travelled to Dublin to the opening of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, opened by the then Irish President, Mary Robinson. To say that all three of us were gobsmacked would be a drasitic understatement - a magnificent Georgian listed building (minus a floor retained by the previous tenants) in the heart of Dublin - more than adequate to fulfil the needs of the recently fledged society.
In a fairly short time the society had outgrown the premises and in 2006 Pat and I were invited to the opening of the new premises,, five minutes walk from the old one also in a listed Georgian house, this time custom adapted for the archive and this time opened by the Arts Minister, John Bruton, Derek Schofield was also in attendance.
A couple of years ago we attended the launch of the project to make available the holdings of the archive on the internet.
Since its inception, the ITMA has benefited from and been an invaluable assistance to the disgustingly healthy Irish music scene - one has been an inseperable part of the development of the other and one would not be where it is without the other.
Whatever direction EFDSS, the VWML or the UK folk scene takes, in order for it to be lasting and effective, it has to be a joint enterprise.
Later on this year the Traditional Song Forum will be holding its meeting at ITMA in Dublin - can I recommend that anybody interested in seeing what can be achieved and prepared to listen to and discuss the subject with some of the people involved, join them.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 04:30 PM

Jim,
With all due respect, folk music archives in Ireland and Scotland are reasonably well funded and valued by their governments and a larger percentage of the population than in England. As has already been stated the EFDSS is largely and traditionally funded by its membership. The current managers have done wonders in obtaining the unprecedented funding in the last two years and much of that funding has gone on placing song archive material on the internet and funding education projects around the country, not just in London. (Take 6)

I for one visit the VWML regularly and often meet people there with a common interest, and I live in Hull. The Roud index is online. Take 6 is on line. No doubt more will be as and when funding becomes available. The EFDSS publish books of folksongs taken from these archives. I'd love to live next door to the BL, but I'm happy it is in London and even more accessible than the VWML, though I could easily walk from one to the other though Regents Park.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jack Campin
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 04:39 PM

What folk music archive in Scotland are you thinking of?

Compared with the School of Scottish Studies library in Edinburgh, the VWML is a palace. Everything else in Scotland is in closed stacks (with very helpful librarians in the case of the NLS, but still not browsable). And most of the SSS's stock is in the upstairs room that only the director's friends ever get to go into.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 04:53 PM

Steve,
"With all due respect, folk music archives in Ireland and Scotland are reasonably well funded"
This is a comparatively recent development and certainly does not predate the setting up of ITMA.
Irish music was treated with contempt up to twenty years ago by the media (diddly-di music); now you can hear traditional music in all its forms on radio and television vitually seven days a week.
In the past we've seen people carrying musical intruments ejected out of pubs, now musicians are being paid to run sessions.
The only organisation that received money CCE, who played the political game and got their president elected onto the Senead as a senator, and they squandered the money they were given on on dancers in little green dresses.
The change was fought for and it was won by dedicated people, and not by those who wrung their haands and said "things are different over there" in order that our music can continue bumping along the bottom.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:04 PM

This thread is becoming annoying.
Face it Dick Miles.
The EFDSS and the Library, etc are not moving anywhere. Deal with it.
If you want it to move ....open up your chequebook and pay for it.
If you're not prepared to stump up the several millions of pounds to facilitate such a move, then shut up.
Why don't you just carry on your arguements with Jim Carroll about Irish music, and leave us English people alone. (You don't live here anyway).
The majority here are perfectly happy with the way things are, and are very respectful of Malcolm, Peta, and everyone else who are striving to keep the society going.
Oh, and Yes... I have heard your latest CD.......No Comment


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:19 PM

"and leave us English people alone. (You don't live here anyway)."
Oh dear -
"Wrap the flag around me mother,
For I'm to be Queen of the May".
I would guess both Dick and I have done more for English folk music than you've had hot dinners Ralphie.
Look it up.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: oggie
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:28 PM

The problems with housing the VWML within an academic library are twofold. One is access, try getting into most academic libraries in the UK without a whole host of paperwork and references. Secondly the specialist knowledge of the collection which the current librarians have would almost certainly be lost as the bequest becomes but a small part of the academic library.

Steve


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: GUEST,Ralphie
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:28 PM

Ooh Seem to have touched a nerve. Good.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 05:55 PM

Ralphie,I assume you are referring to me not Jim Carroll
I really do not understand what relevance my last cd has.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 06:06 PM

Oggie;
Couldn't agree more - the Irish Folklore Society housed, at Trinity is not particularly user friendly, but my attitude regarding the situation in the UK is 'needs must when the devil drives'.
Our own collection is housed at The National Sound Archive at The British Library, which is far from ideal, but better than nothing.
"Ooh Seem to have touched a nerve. Good."
For your info Ralphie - born and brought up a Brit, spent nearly sixty years of my life there, forty years involved in folk clubs, thirty recording traditional singers and some time attempting to set up a national folk music archive in London.
And there's me thinking 'Little Britain' was a sit-com. You never stop learning - do you?
Life may be ideal in your little corner of the British Empire, but some of us think differently and would like to help.
But never mind, keep the flag flying and the natives in their place - chin-chin,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 21 Jul 10 - 07:12 PM

Cross posted
"I really do not understand what relevance my last cd has."
Cap'n - don't bother - you're straying into real 'prat territory',
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: mattkeen
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 04:55 AM

QUOTE Dick
HOWARD, it must be much quicker for you to drive to Derby.
"Any alternative HQ for the EFDSS would have to be in London in order to be able to lobby the arts establishment and funding organisations - although some people would prefer to believe otherwise, it has to be involved with the arts world and that is the only way it can have any influence or obtain significant funding."Quote
WHY whats wrong with birmingham OR manchester or the midlands,for lobbying arts establishment for funding.
I used to live and run a folk club in suffolk, and i lobbyed for funding from EASTERN ARTS :successfully. "

That is a tiny plop in the ocean of the funding required for VWML to move.

Irrelevant

Not that I know anything mind having personally raised over £2million for arts projects in and out of London


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Vic Smith
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 06:25 AM

Clearly Cecil Sharp House has its drawbacks as a location and that the library space is too small in undeniable, I would like to see the library in a space that is at least three times bigger than it is currently. This could actually be achieved internally by a change of useage within the building itself. I don't know the building details intimately enough to make concrete suggestions, but there are several other halls there that might accommodate the library and offer it expanded space with the current library room perhaps becoming a smaller recital space.

The main change at the EFDSS in the last few years has been one of human resources and attitude rather than building fabric. Younger people have found it an more attractive place to go because of the more adventurous programming of events - concerts, dances, teaching and talks. Malcolm Taylor now seems to be a more centrally important figure in the EFDSS and remains a powerhouse of good ideas. Sam Lee in his three years as Education Officer was innovative in his thinking and a real go-getter for his creative ideas. He attacked the problem of audience creation for the traditional arts with a zest that is far from typical with the EFDSS. Katy Spicer needs more time to prove herself fully as a CEO, but the signs are good. On her own admission, she is still on a learning curve, but I have been very impressed with her performance at meetings I have attended and she brings a wealth of experience in arts administration and funding that were not previously available to the organisation. Derek Schofield is proving to be an excellent editor for English Dance & Song. I've had fewer contacts with the chairman, Mike Norris, but he strikes me as a steady hand on the tiller. The choices of Shirley Collins and Eliza Carthy as figureheads strike me as being inspired choices, appealling as they do across the generations.

At last, the EFDSS has its structure full of what seems to me to be the right people and it is this that has made me join after decades of being a severe critic.

Against this major achievement, the arguments/discussions about the suitability and location of his headquarters seem to me to be rather less important.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 07:23 AM

A point that has not been raised is that any serious researcher into traditional music is probably, sooner or later, going to end up in the British Library, and in Cecil Sharp House. Now, at the moment they are conveniently close to each other. This would no longer be the case if they are redistributed round various unpreposessing midlands towns. Now if they were both in Tamsworth that might be fine, but you try persuading both lots of owners to relocate simultaneously.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 07:41 AM

any serious researcher into traditional music is probably, sooner or later, going to end up in the British Library, and in Cecil Sharp House

And the Smithsonian. Are you suggesting that should be moved to London?


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 07:44 AM

good points Vic,
Greg, you make a good argument there about the proximity to the Britsh library[ALTHOUGH IT IS STILL NOT ON THE SAME UNDERGROUND LINE], but then a similiar argument could be made for it to be housed in Sheffield close to Doc Rowes collection, or alternatively, if the library needed to expand for some of the collection to be housed in Sheffield.
The remark about unpreposessing midland towns is exraordinary and insulting,Nottingham Derby Leicester,Sheffield are cities[not towns] and is far from unpreposessing.
lets face it Cecil Sharp House is unpreposessing, or to be fairer is impressive in its ugliness and in its resmblance to an Edwardian telephone exchange.
The expansion of the library does need consideration , as does the suitability of the present building for expansion, the suggestion of using the dance hall might be worth considering, but would understandably upset dancers.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 08:15 AM

Moving the Smithsonian to London: a brilliant idea. Let's do it. That will make up for Cecil Sharpe House going to Ballydehob.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 08:26 AM

RELATIVELY UNIMPORTANT POINT OF ORDER

Camden Town (Bank Branch) to King's Cross is a direct tube line. However, in view of the 10-minute walk from 2 Regent's Park Road to the station and a further 10-minute walk from King's Cross to the British Library it is probably quicker to walk all the way.

There are two others apart from me who are occasional contributors to this forum who worked under the traumatic "Not-So-Goode" era at the EFDSS. Yes, of course it's got better in recent years and Katy Spicer is doing an excellent job etc etc. But it's all a matter of emphasis. Yapping on about which provincial location to move VWML (with or without the attendant administration) is a complete nonsense the moment costs and logistics are considered. Yet, way back then the EFDSS, however distanced from "normal" society, maintained half a dozen regional offices scattered throughout the land, co-ordinating educational work and social dance (mainly).

What is important is whether strategies and tactics transform into actions beneficial to the tradarts and which audiences are actually enthusiastic about. Not where the building is in which this blue-sky thinking occurs.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 08:47 AM

Borchester can you provide us with the costs, since you appear to have considered them.
if the library is to expand it needs to re locate, or partly relocate as it seems unlikely planning permission[ it is a listed building is it not] would be granted at the present site for an extension.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Edthefolkie
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 09:44 AM

With respect folks, some of this conversation does remind me of the people who complain (often in green ink) when a steam loco is painted in the wrong colour. Ask them to put their money where their mouth is and they disappear into the undergrowth.

Anyway, just what exactly is remote about Camden? I can get there in no time from my unprepossessing Midland town. I do have to spend money though.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 10:08 AM

so Ed , in view of the likely need to expand the library perhaps you think it could be relocated in Mayfair os some other expensive part of london,
The advantage of relocating away from the capital, is that in the midlands property prices are a little cheaper.the other alternative is the library does not expand but becomes a museum


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 10:13 AM

The walk from C Sharp House to the British Library is very pleasant and many interesting routes can be taken.
Re unpreposessing midlands towns: I know all about them. I live in Stoke. And very nice it is too. But no, I do not want C Sharp House transported here, as I have made very clear!


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 22 Jul 10 - 02:21 PM

All of this was discussed at length, aye and costed, in the recent troubles and talk of selling the House. I wonder why it's still there and thriving!


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 24 Jul 10 - 01:05 PM

Sorry - away,
Vic;
"This could actually be achieved internally by a change of useage"
Sorry - not the case.
I was assured that as far as space was concerned, the only practical place to move the library was upstairs and that was not possible on safety grounds.
"What is important is whether strategies and tactics transform into actions beneficial to the tradarts and which audiences are actually enthusiastic about. "
I agree with 'er.
"I wonder why it's still there and thriving!"
Can a music library that has no room for all its books, can't take in new ones and is unable to provide an adequate listening system, be described as 'thriving' I wonder?
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: brezhnev
Date: 24 Jul 10 - 01:32 PM

it is a bit odd that no-one has supplied figures yet for the library's use. they'll be in the efdss library director's report for 2009, received and reviewed at a board meeting in january this year. anyone got that in front of them?

In my very limited experience the librarians are really helpful in sending stuff by email. for free.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Vic Smith
Date: 25 Jul 10 - 06:03 AM

In my very limited experience the librarians are really helpful in sending stuff by email. for free.

Every enquiry that I have submitted by email to the VWML has been promptly and helpfully dealt with. These have often been requests for scans of photos, book covers etc, for use in multimedia shows that I am involved with.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Will Fly
Date: 25 Jul 10 - 06:30 AM

I'm no expert on the Memorial Library, but I did spend many, many years before retirement from the day job, as a librarian at the BBC and in universities. The problem of space is not unique to the VWML - it's a fact of life for all libraries with any kind of budget and an acquisitions policy - i.e. where material regularly accrues to the collection.

For many of us working in the then pre-digitisation age, there were some stark choices to be made when the shelves started to overflow:

- new premises (often an impossibility for logistical or financial reasons)
- rented, off-site stack areas for remote storage of archival or lesser-used material
- co-operative schemes whereby libraries transferred specialist stock to agreed centres and disposed of duplicated material
- disposal of out-of-date material (not always easy for some collection types)

With digitisation, there is now another option - also time-consuming and expensive, but still an extra option - of digitising certain materials, or creating access to digital materials such as journals, and disposing of the originals or retaining them in remote storage. The remote storage option creates space in the working building. This was not always popular in pre-digitisation periods, given the sometimes diifficult logistics of retrieving material for the user. Retaining computer files to remotely housed materials not only saves space but widens access to users online. Some university libraries, such as Cranfield, were actively following a policy of converting their journals collections en masse to digital format and losing the paper originals. Not an option I favour, personally, but an option nevertheless.

There's far more to it, obviously, than I can write here, but at least the opportunity is there - as long as appropriate and sufficient funding is made available - for the VWML to retain its premises, utilise space efficiently and make its resources more widely available. The Take 6 project shows the way.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Billy Weeks
Date: 26 Jul 10 - 06:24 AM

Ignoring all the sleep-inducing stuff about moving from London, this thread raises two vital points (and I'll add a third) that seem call for policy decisions or statements. If the society has already given these matters mature thought and published its findings, I apologise, but I think I'll go on a bit on the assumption that there are still decisions to be taken.

There is the question of whether CSH is suitable for the many purposes it now serves, and

Whatever the answer may be to (1), what should be done to provide the library with the additional space that it clearly needs.

As to (1), I take it for granted (as some may not) that leaving the present building is not a realistic option. The possession of a big, sturdy building on a first-rate site in a high rental area in the capital is something that no newly-founded society could hope for today. This is the society's greatest (only?) capital asset and disposing of it would make no more sense now than it did in those awful days when there was a serious proposal to sell it off to 'solve' (ha!) the society's desperate financial position . Unbelievably unwise. If that had been done the society would not exist today. The building was part of the solution, not the problem.

The fact nevertheless remains that CSH, for all its apparent generous size, is splitting at the seams. There is no doubt that, when it was first built, provision for dance was seen as the overriding priority. The most that song would ever need (and that only occasionally) would be a little recital room with a piano. It should be remembered, too, that housing the CS and other donated collections was unlikely to be seen then as a major problem. A not uncommon belief eighty years ago was that practically all the collecting that could be done had already been done.

If a society committee were to be considering the building of an HQ today, the brief to the architect would undoubtedly be quite different from what it was in the thirties. But we are where we are. What is needed now is a new kind of brief to a different kind of architect - one skilled in dealing with existing buildings, rather than creating new ones.

I feel sure that, if the society had the wherewithal (and, of course, the will) it would be possible to rejig CSH into a better shape for present requirements, but it would call for a professional, comprehensive design approach, examining every possibility for every space (including the roof) and not an amateurish 'let's colonise this broom cupboard' attitude.   The brief for any such project will be complicated by the fact that the largest single space is going to be jealously guarded for dance and also, in its present state, it represents a source of regular income for the society.

Coming now to (2), it seems to me that, however cunningly the spaces might be re-allocated, the library not only needs better provision now, it is also going to go on growing in the future. It is essential that it should do so but, even with vastly extended digitisation of material over coming years and a measure of judicious outhousing, the library will be the one occupant of CSH that will continue to push against the walls.

The shape of the site and the original design of the building may make extension difficult, but that is a course that has to be considered and, in this connection, let's dispose of the hoary old myth that listing freezes a building forever in it present state. It doesn't. But it does mean that alterations and extensions have to be designed with great sensitivity. I can't for example, see consent being given to a steel and glass building obscuring the main elevations or a lumpy extension above the parapet or internal alterations that leave no space for the mural, but conservation problems like that are there to be solved by professional knowhow. A gift of additional space like, say, one of the big Regents Park Road houses, would help a lot. Crazy idea? Does the society really have no wealthy members able to bequeath a valuable property? No? Oh.

The trouble with embarking on this kind of consideration, of course, is that it does assume that money will be forthcoming for some kind of Great Project. The cash certainly can't come from membership subs and sure as hell it won't come from government agencies. But something of the kind must happen eventually if CSH is not to slide into being nothing better than a crumbling memorial to CS and an inadequate tent over the VWML.

And that 'crumbling' brings me to the third point.

(3) Returning to the House after a break of decades, I was sad to see how much it had deteriorated over the years. Maybe this is a superficial impression and maybe the society spends regularly on maintenance, but I'd like to be reassured about that. No matter how much one has to put up with in the way of lack of resources for capital improvements, existing capital assets must be safeguarded by steady, consistent maintenance. The society is more exciting and effective today than it has been for many, many years. The tired look of the house misrepresents its importance and its achievements.

Now somebody in the society please tell me how wrong I am.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Borchester Echo
Date: 26 Jul 10 - 02:25 PM

A gift of additional space like, say, one of the big Regents Park Road houses, would help a lot

Former staff member Roy Guest used to live in the house next door on the Gloucester Avenue side. No idea though whether he actually owned it or if it's bequeathed to his heirs.

More hopefully, Ursula Vaughan Williams used to live just around the corner in Gloucester Crescent. Anyone know what happened to all her assets and dosh? Worth asking probing questions, I'd say.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Jul 10 - 02:54 PM

Billy,
Many thanks for that important overview from a longstanding member.

Although Billy has not been an active EFDSS member for many years, he has a deep knowledge of listed buildings having been involved in the preservation of music hall theatres around London. As many on Mudcat will know he also has a great knowledge of Music Hall history and as such has bequeathed his extensive collection of Music Hall sheet music and street literature to the VWML which has accepted this. Having seen Billy's extensive collection the VWML must know they have the space to house all of this or they would not have accepted it.

Much of the archive material in the VWML is quite rightly housed in basements in temperature contolled conditions and even more could be kept in this way removing it from the library itself. I'm sure there are plans for this once the said material has been digitised and placed online, freeing up more of the library for book space and researchers. Personally on my frequent visits I have never felt crowded in any way. For a specialised library like this, of international importance, the dozen or so people who visit every day can be easily accommodated as more than half of them have queries which can be dealt with fairly quickly leaving the 4 or 5 researchers to spend their full day or more beavering away at the archives.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: brezhnev
Date: 26 Jul 10 - 04:11 PM

Good Soldier Schweik: there's your answer, then - "a dozen or so" people visit the library every day, more than half of whom have quick queries.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 26 Jul 10 - 04:40 PM

Steve Gardham lives near Goole, Yorkshire,
Steve have you been informed by someone at The House/EFDSS, or are you guessing?


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 26 Jul 10 - 05:22 PM

I'm going by my own experience and averaging out. For my work on 'Marrowbones' I spent 2 whole weeks in the VWML at separate times from opening to closing time and have done similar stints on other occasions for my own personal research. These are average estimates. Some days 20 people might call in, some days just me and Malcolm D all day. But rest assured the phone is constantly going, and emails are coming in and being answered all the time.

Not all querists are folkies of course. There are journalists, music buffs, people with marginal interests, foreigners who just want to see what goes on at EFDSS headquarters.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 08:29 AM

2 weeks is hardly a fair way to evaluate its usage, six months would give a better picture.it could be that youare under estimating its usage.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 01:35 PM

I was just giving 2 examples, Dick. I have frequently spent full days in there. I'm sorry, as much as I'd love to be able to stay in London and the VWML for 6 months my pocket won't let me.


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Subject: RE: Vaughan Williams Memorial Library & its importance
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Jul 10 - 01:39 PM

100, yah boo lead fingers


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