Harmonious agreement reached in Elgar manuscripts move row - The Worcester Observer

Harmonious agreement reached in Elgar manuscripts move row

Worcester Editorial 19th Jul, 2018   0

THE LONG-RUNNING row over the future of Elgar’s legacy in Worcestershire appears to have been resolved following talks between Government chiefs and the trust set up to preserve the memory of one of the county’s famous sons.

The world-famous composer, whose works are synonymous with the landscapes of Worcestershire, was born in Lower Broadheath and lived at addresses across the county.

Questions had been raised about how local people would be able to preserve the legacy of the composer after some manuscripts were transferred to the British Library as part of the terms of Elgar’s daughter’s will.

Concerned council chiefs even launched a petition to ensure the archives remained in the county.

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 will expose the work of the composer to a worldwide audience once the archive was available online.

Malvern’s MP Harriett Baldwin contacted both the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Elgar Foundation to ensure the county will continue to mark the life and works of the composer.

As a result, much of the so-called Birthplace collection remains in Broadheath and is available for the general public to view and more than 20,000 people have visited The Firs since it was re-opened under National Trust management.

The manuscripts and some letters have been moved to the British Library where they will be digitised, allowing people to access the resources online.

“I have received a detailed briefing from the Elgar Foundation regarding the circumstances surrounding the moving of the original manuscripts to the British Library which was a term of the will of Clarice Elgar,” she said.

“I am also satisfied people wishing to study the papers will be able to once they are digitised and this will go a long way towards ensuring future generations don’t lose out.

“But I am also reassured that Elgar’s legacy will be preserved across the county and the National Trust is doing a great job managing The Firs, which was his birthplace in Lower Broadheath.

“We are rightly proud of the composer and I hope that this discussion about him and his legacy has done much to stimulate more interest in his life and works,” she added.

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