CONCERNED council chiefs have launched a petition to ensure the archives of Worcestershire’s very own Edward Elgar remain in the county.
Coun Lucy Hodgson has launched the Change.org petition in a bid to put pressure on the Elgar Foundation to reverse their decision to send the archives to the British Library.
The move 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.
Trustees of the Elgar Foundation hope the move would expose the work of the composer to a worldwide audience once the archive was available online.
But their decision has sparked anger locally with calls for the trust to reconsider and instead move the treasure trove of documents to the Hive where the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service is based.
Numerous signatories appeared on a letter to Friday’s Times newspaper and Coun Hodgson said county chiefs were left disappointed by the trust’s decision to relocate the pieces more than 100 miles away from Elgar’s home.
“Elgar was born here in Worcestershire and died here and this county was the inspiration behind most of his music,” she said.
“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 more than 100 years ago, recently performed his iconic Cello Concerto in St Martin’s Church under the baton of 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 which 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.”
Visit www.change.org/p/the-elgar-foundation-keep-the-edward-elgar-archives-here-in-worcestershire to sign the petition.