Christmas at the
ARCHIVE OF RECORDED
CHURCH MUSIC

"Preserving a unique and priceless recorded heritage
from choirs of gentlemen and boys singing in the English Cathedral tradition from 1902 to the present day"

The Archive is delighted to present these Christmas treats
designed by us, especially for you!

Advent
Calendar

Open the
Calendar!

Sit back, press play and wallow in our video Christmas Card
...it doesn't come more schmaltzy than this!

The video may take a few moments to load

Open the Calendar
 click on the daily door and enjoy the video

Tell us what you think about our Christmas treats in the Comments Book ..we'd love to hear from you!!

On Christmas Eve, here and on our YouTube channel,  we are delighted to be presenting the 1962 TV broadcast, fully restored by us,  of Solemn High Midnight Mass from the Chapel of Ushaw College, Durham

The recording of choirs, both great and small, has a long and illustrious history, stretching way back to 1902.

For in October of that year St Andrew's, Wells Street, London became the very first choir to issue a gramophone record.

This momentous occasion marked the beginning of over a hundred years of recording which continues to the present day.
Click for history, the  
move to Kingsbury and more recordings
​​Listen to this 1902 recording

These recordings, on every format from 78s to CDs and from Anglican & Roman Catholic choirs, are part of our cultural and musical heritage.  

The raison d'etre of the Archive is to preserve them for future generations, from the very earliest to the latest new release.

In the fullness of time the Archive will be left to a musical or educational institution.

​Although the Archive holds copies of almost all commerical recordings, s ome of the greatest treasures are from small independent labels or private one-off recordings.

​These private recordings were often made by the choirmaster or enthusiastic amatures armed with a tape recorder.

Enjoy this private recording from the final evensong of St Michael's College, Tenbury on 14 July 1985. Stanford's Magnificat in G with treble soloist, Tobias Edwards.
The Archive also houses a major collection of Radio and TV broadcasts; such as BBC Choral Evensongs, Services, Concerts and Documentaries.

These broadcasts are of national historical importance as they give a unique snapshot of a choir at that particular moment in time.

An extensive collection of commerial DVDs, together with Film, Radio & TV based dramas, are also held  in the Archive.A

Can you help preserve our recorded heritage?

Please do get in touch if you have any recordings of interest, either to donate or loan briefly for digitzing.

Whatever the format, whether 78s; reel-to-reel or cassette tapes; mini-discs; LPs and CDs, together with VHS & Betamax video and DVDs, I have the facilities to play and digitze.  Private recordings in all formats together with radio & TV broadcasts are of particular interest.  
  1. Arthur Martin choir, Belfast, 1953
    Arthur Martin choir, Belfast, 1953
    Rehearsing Britten's 'The Little Sweep'
  2. Deal  Royal Marine Chapel Choir, 1940
    Deal Royal Marine Chapel Choir, 1940
    Choir with the Marine 'Band Boys'
  3. Chelsea Barracks Chapel, 1936
    Chelsea Barracks Chapel, 1936
    Four choristers who have just met the King
  4. Eastney  Royal Marine Artillery Church, 1920
    Eastney Royal Marine Artillery Church, 1920
  5. Shoreditch Cottage Home Chapel Choir, 1911
    Shoreditch Cottage Home Chapel Choir, 1911
    A boys' orphanage
  6. Portsmouth Royal Garrison Church, 1911
    Portsmouth Royal Garrison Church, 1911
  7. Plymouth  Devenport Dockyard Chapel Choir, 1941
    Plymouth Devenport Dockyard Chapel Choir, 1941
    Photographed with Vice Admiral Dowding
  8. Matlock  St Andrew's Boys' Home Chapel, 1904
    Matlock St Andrew's Boys' Home Chapel, 1904
  9. Farrington Church Farm House School Chapel  1940
    Farrington Church Farm House School Chapel 1940
    The school prepared boys in the hope of gaining a scholarship to a cathedral school
  10. Berkshire Boys choir, 1978
    Berkshire Boys choir, 1978
    Together with Christ's Hospital Chapel Choir at Glyndeboure
  11. London  Lincoln's Inn Chapel, 1930
    London Lincoln's Inn Chapel, 1930
    One of the four Inns of Court to which barristers are called, and at this time, Lincoln's & Gray's Inn both had a chapel choir. Both these choirs and the Temple church shared a choir school.
  12. St Paul's Cathedral Sunday Evening choir, 1967
    St Paul's Cathedral Sunday Evening choir, 1967
    Made up of choristers from other choirs to sing the Sunday choral evensong at St Paul's to allow their own choristers to have the night off.
  13. London  Lord Mayor's Boy' Players,  1934
    London Lord Mayor's Boy' Players, 1934
    At Paddington station meeting the Vienna Boys Choir who were on a singing trip to the UK.
  14. London  Cafe de Paris,  1954
    London Cafe de Paris, 1954
    Choristers from an unknown church singing carols in the Cafe de Paris.
The Library & Photographic collection compliments the Sound Archives and is a repository of everything related to recordings, choirs and church music in general, dating from 1849 to the present day.

Read more about the Library Archive and also enjoy a selection from the many 1000s of historical photos, together with some fascinating Newsreels, by visiting the Photo & Newsreel gallery.
Should you have an hour to spare, please join me on a journey through a century of recorded church music.

​This video presentation contains many rare and private recordings which are matched with archive photographs, to gether with my spoken commentary. 
What other have said about my presentation:  '"A masterpiece ..... a triumph ....totally engrossing ....a tour de force ....the most enjoyable hour I have spend in a very long time ....I could barely tear myelf away"