Uncovering the speeches of Ida Carroll

Ciara Garcha has been volunteering with our Archive as part of our Northern School of Music centenary project. She shares what she’s learned about the speeches of Ida Carroll, the NSM’s second Principal.

I’ve been volunteering with the RNCM’s centenary project for three months where I have been creating a digital archive of the speeches of Ida Carroll. Working with the RNCM archives and reading Ida Carroll’s speeches has given me a glimpse into her beliefs, values, and personality showing a strong, determined, and passionate woman who deserves to be celebrated. The aim of this article is to share some of Ida Carroll’s speeches with you, so that you can begin to understand and appreciate a woman whose influence is still felt at the RNCM.

One of Ida Carroll's handwritten speeches.Reading through Ida Carroll’s speeches, the first impression I got was of her strong religious convictions. All her speeches to the Northern College of Music’s student body began with a hymn, prayer, and religious reading. For example, her 1959 Summer term speech to her student body began with the collective singing of the hymn Praise my Soul the King of Heaven which she followed with a reading of the First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: Chapter 13. Like all the religious readings Ida Carroll gave she used this as an opportunity to express a moral message, in this case that students needed to become mature and ‘Put away childish things’ if they wished to succeed at the Northern College of Music.

Whilst the readings and hymns can show us Ida Carroll’s religious convictions, the prayers she included as part of her speeches allow us to see what she was personally valued. Her September 1959 speech to new students, for example, includes a prayer she had written: ‘We are gathered at this time to offer to God our thanks for his gifts of music and literature’ before asking that ‘We remember Hilda Collens, who planted in fertile soil the seed of music and dedicated her life’s work to God and the furtherance of her art.’ 

This demonstrates her strong belief in the importance of music and her admiration for the Northern College of Music’s founder Hilda Collens. Ida Carroll’s admiration for Hilda Collens can also be seen in her April 1957 speech to the student body where she discussed her desire to celebrate founders day on Hilda Collens’s birthday as an act of commemoration.

Working with the RNCM Archives has allowed me to learn a great deal about Ida Carroll and by uploading her speeches to the MDMArchive her words can be read by anyone with an interest in music in Manchester.

All speeches referred to are available on the MDMArchive.