Archive of Recorded Church Music

"Preserving a unique & priceless recorded heritage from choirs of gentlemen & boys singing in the English Cathedral tradition"

A moment in time​​
Go to St Andrew's
Wells Street
Sound recordings freeze musical moments in time and when played back allow us to understand, to experience, to be immersed in and to re-live those precious moments.
Our cultural heritage
This unique legacy of recordings from Anglican & Roman Catholic choirs of gentlemen and boys is a neglected part of our cultural and musical heritage.  
Where it all began
For future generations
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, became the very first choir to issue a gramophone record. 

This momentous occasion marked the beginning of a priceless recorded heritage which continues to the present day.

The raison d'etre of the Archive is to acquire and preserve recordings from 1902 to the present day.  Eventually, the Archive will be gifted to an educational or musical institution

Treasures of the Archive

Although the Archive holds copies of almost all commerical recordings, some of the greatest treasures are from small independent labels or private 'one-off' recordings which often represent the only sound legacy of that choir.

The Archive also holds a significant collection of private, test and special pressings, transcription discs and unissued recordings all of which represent the extraordinary diversity of the Archive.

More than just recordings

The Archive holds a major collection of Radio & TV broadcasts, such as BBC Choral Evensongs, religious services, concerts and documentaries.

These broadcasts are of unparalleled historical importance, giving as they do a unique snapshot of the choir at that moment in time.  An extensive collection of commercial DVDs, together with film, radio and television based dramas, are also held in the Archive.


Can you help preserve this unique heritage ?
​Please contact us should you have any recordings of interest, either to donate or briefly loan for digitization.   All formats are welcome: reel-to-reel & cassette tapes; mini-discs; LPs & CDs, together with VHS, Betamax and DVD.

We have the equipment to digitize all recording formats for preservation and archiving.   Private 'one-off' recordings, together with radio and TV broadcasts are of particular interest to the Archive.

Events at St Leonard's - the home of the Archive