Nearly 600 WW2 love letters now online

During the RNCM Archive’s research into the Northern School of Music (1920-1972), three boxes of papers require particular celebration.

They contain the beautiful personal story of one of the School’s most well-known characters, Ida Gertrude Carroll.

Ida was student-cum-secretary-cum-principal of the Northern School of Music. She worked tirelessly for the School and its pupils, and for the city itself, volunteering as an Air Raid Precaution Warden in the Second World War for Didsbury.

Ida and Geoffrey on holiday

Ida and Geoffrey on holiday

The story of her as a musician and educator is as well-known as her father’s (Walter Carroll), but with these three boxes a different area of her life and experiences is revealed. They contain nearly 600 letters from Geoffrey ‘Griff’ Griffiths, travel agent-turned-school bursar, to his girlfriend Ida Carroll, documenting their relationship through the war and beyond.

The letters detail his love for her, how much he enjoys spending time with her on their dates and with friends, as well as his time singing in her father’s choir at St James Church in Birch-in-Rusholme and the Hallé. They also explain the ups and downs of the war, including the Manchester Blitz in 1940.

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, every single letter is digitised and uploaded to the Manchester Digital Music Archive. A programme of transcription is ongoing with a team of volunteers, to make them even more accessible and searchable.

If you are interested in the letters, please visit the online exhibition. If you’d like to learn more about the RNCM Archives, please contact [email protected].

17 May 2021