Records of Hull Philharmonic Society

What is the Hull Philharmonic Society?
Hull Philharmonic Society programme (Ref C DSPH/5/3/1)Founded in 1881 when a group of seventeen like-minded men met at the George Hotel in Hull, to form a society for 'the private and Public Performance of Orchestral Music at Hull’, the Hull Philharmonic Society is one of the oldest surviving music societies in Hull.

The Society’s purpose has always been to promote the cause of orchestral music in Hull. It has done this by staging of orchestral concerts, by attracting artists and orchestras of national and international renown to play in the city, and through the encouragement of young players.

Holding its first concert at the Public Assembly Rooms, Jarratt Street, Hull, on 19 April 1882 (see programme right) the Society has provided the city with musical entertainment ever since, and continues to stage concerts at the City Hall and special events throughout the city.

What can the records of the Society tell me?
The records of the Hull Philharmonic Society are a fascinating resource for anyone interested in the musical heritage of Hull. As well as illustrating the history and development of the Society, the records document changes in music trends over the course of 130 years. The records also provide evidence of the composers, conductors, guest artists, and orchestra players who have been involved with the society since it’s inception.

Hull Philharmonic Society in concert (Ref C DSPH/4/2/1) Photograph of Hull Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Clarence Raybould [ref C DSPH/4/2/5]

What records will I find in the collection?
This collection contains records created by the Society throughout its distinguished existance.
Such records consist of minutes 1881-1995, reports 1963-2003, correspondence 1908-2010, photographs 1949-2010, concert programmes 1882-2011, lists of members 1881-1963, publicity material 1935-2011, ephemera 1850-1999, books, music scores and audio recordings 1936-2008, press cuttings 1884-2010, and members' papers 1908-2011.

Fanfare in Memory of King George V by Sir Henry Wood (Ref C DSPH/9/2/1)

Score of a ‘Fanfare’ written by Sir Henry J. Wood in memory of King George V in 1936, and performed by Hull Philharmonic Orchestra at City Hall on 13 Feb 1936 [ref C DSPH/9/2/1]

A particular highlight from the collection is the series of programmes of the Society’s ‘Sponsored Concerts’ featuring stars such as Artur Rubinstein, Shura Cherkassky, and Segovia, and noted ensembles such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the London Mozart Players, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Of further interest are the many photographs featuring society events and concerts dating back to the 1950s.

How do I access the Collection?
The collection is available for anyone to use and has been given the unique reference number C DSPH.  The collection has also been added to the History Centre's online catalogue. A paper version of the catalogue is available for use in the searchroom at Hull History Centre, and an electronic copy in PDF format (891kb pdf) is also available.