Making Music in Manchester During WWI

This project brings the music of the city and wider region at this time to life through interactive performances, workshops, exhibitions, and online resources.

Making Music in Manchester During WWI draws on the archives of the Royal Manchester College of Music (held at the RNCM), Henry Watson Music Library and Hallé Concerts Society.

A Victorian era orchestra sit with their instruments and look into the camera.

The project involves an important performance element to recreate some of the music heard at the RMCM and in the North West during and just after the war years. The RNCM will also work with regional bands to explore the fascinating story of WWI bandsmen who, on their return from service, received scholarships to study at the College after the war.

Project Team

Professor Barbara L. Kelly

Dr Geoff Thomason

Heather Roberts with community partners – AHRC funded project

Project Partners

Henry Watson Library, Manchester City Council

Hallé Concerts Society, Manchester

Dr Ali Ronan (Manchester Metropolitan University)


Making Music in Manchester

Collaborative World War 1 Exhibition (with the Hallé archives and the Henry Watson Music Library)

Heritage Lottery Fund (North West branch): Revealing and reinterpreting WW1 Archives

The purpose of the HLF project was to digitise the combined archival sources from the AHRC Making Music in Manchester project from the RNCM, Hallé Concert Society and Henry Watson Music Library.  An equally important aim was to engage with very different communities with the support of volunteers and community partners.

Thanks to support from the HLF, RNCM Archives has been able to experiment with and explore its WW1 archives. The volunteer-led project digitised material used in the research-based project ‘Making Music in Manchester during WW1’ with the Hallé Concert Society Archive and the Henry Watson Music Library.

Over 850 images were created from the efforts of the volunteers. There are hosted on Manchester Digital Music Archive for anyone to see without cost. We were then able to facilitate 6 creative response workshops with various groups who do not frequent the RNCM. These groups include Inspire Centre in Levenshulme, Hideaway, Back On Track, TLC St. Luke’s and Lifeshare.

Manchester Digital Music Archive

The Archives+ website exhibition

Also in this section...