The Cadbury Research Library


The Cadbury Research Library is based at Birmingham University and the information held there has been of immense value during my research into the Festivals.


All material held in the library is catalogued and can be searched in the online catalogue either from a computer at the library or from the comfort of your own home. Upon completion of a request slip the helpful staff will quickly obtain the required items from the archive.


Of particular value to me in compiling lists of performances, singers etc have been the volumes of Festival programmes held at the library. Please see the “Programme Volume” section for more information on these and some pictures of signed volumes. An almost complete run is held in the archive from 1787 to 1912. The latter years are complete and it is only the very early years for which some of the programmes are missing.


Many of the volumes came from the collection of Charles Harding who was a lawyer, vice president of the Birmingham Festival and Governor of Birmingham University. His name is inscribed in the volumes and a large number are also signed by all of the Festival participants. Treasurable items indeed! Of particular interest is a scrapbook he compiled in respect of the 1867 Festival which contains innumerable news clipping and items of ephemera relating to the festival.


After some of the Festivals he held a party at his home, Knutsford Lodge, and those who attended signed the back pages of the volume.


Harding was keen that Elgar occupy a chair of music at the University. Elgar stayed at Khutsford Lodge with Harding. See Northrop Moore's “Elgar a Creative Life” pp446/7 for more information.


Apart from programme volumes the Library holds many items of ephemera relating to the Festivals. In particular there are five volumes of news clippings relating the the festivals from 1879 to 1894. These contain a mass of information about the preparations for the festivals and reviews of performances.


I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the Library for anyone interested in finding out more about the Festivals.

Birmingham Triennial Music Festivals