The Speeches of Ida Carroll

Laura Howard 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’m currently studying for an MA in Heritage Studies, so I have examined archives theoretically before – but working on this project gave me the opportunity to physically work with an archive for the first time. I have been creating a digital archive of Ida Carroll’s speeches, uploading them to the Manchester Digital Music Archive to give the public the opportunity to view them.

Old photograph of Ida Carroll and NSM staff sitting with drinks.

NSM Staff, 1960s – Ida Carroll pictured third from right

The project has taught me a lot – such as how to carry out cataloguing and digital archiving, and the ways to ensure the preservation of documents whilst working with them.

An Ida Carroll handwritten speech.

Working with the Ida Carroll speeches showed me how an archive can allow insight into the lives of individuals. The process allowed me to understand how passionate she was about the Northern School of Music and showed me how driven, funny, and forceful she was.

In her speeches she discusses her love of the school, her respect for Hilda Collens (founder and first Principal of the school) and her sense of humour.

Working with the archives really brought Ida Carroll to life for me and by adding her speeches to MDMA has given others the chance to get to know this brilliant woman.

This has been a great opportunity, which has allowed me to understand how the theoretical concepts we had discussed in our lectures had a practical impact on the archival process – and I was able to better understand how narratives can be shown through archives and how these narratives are chosen.

For images of the speeches, head over to our online exhibition with the Manchester Digital Music Archive.