Paris-Manchester 1918
Conservatoires in time of war

23rd July 1918 (Hope Squire)

Hope is surprised and angry that one her best pupils has failed her diploma, and blames the internal politics of the College.  She is particularly incensed by snobbish criticism from the College’s Registrar, Stanley Withers.

Credit: University of Bristol Library, Special Collections (DM2103)

…Well re College – Edith and Nelly played all their diploma work so splendidly, I don’t think you could believe unless you heard. E’s interpretation of the Chr. Fantasie – when it dawned on her – was so grand, I was moved beyond words, I specially asked that she might be allowed to play it through at the exam.  I expected them both to get distinction.  Edith has failed 72 – Nelly passed 75 – go for teacher’s cert[ificate].  I feel very indignant – of course I was tabooed as an examiner again & you were replaced by “Arthan & Pierce”.  Mr Harty said Edith had more talent than anyone in the College, but the reason given for not granting her a diploma was “too young & immature”.  I can’t see what age has to do with it – especially in a performer – I’ve had a furious letter from Nelly (the exam was on Sat: afternoon) who says that Edith never played better & that everything went perfectly – if that is so all I can say is that there has been no playing as fine since I have known the College.  Nelly declares that Max and Miss Arthan are responsible & that Mr Withers said that Edith was “full of conceit, not really musical, uneducated unrefined & had none of the instincts of a lady”.  What this has to do with the exam I don’t yet know…