Friday, August 21, 2015

Croydon Citizen: Discovering Selhurst’s history – musical notes [Samuel Coleridge-Taylor lived there]

is profiled at AfriClassical.comwhich
features a comprehensive Works List and a  
Bibliography by Dr. Dominique-René de

The Croydon Citizen: Metal silhouette statues of notable Croydonians Romanies Corbett, Peggy Ashcroft and (centre) Samuel Coleridge-Taylor. Photo by Bob Walker, used under Creative Commons licence.

By - Thursday 20th August, 2015

In a recent piece for the Citizen, I explained how leading heritage walks in the Selhurst area during the Croydon Heritage Festival opened my eyes to the history of this fascinating part of the world, too often regarded as a minor southern appendage to South Norwood. Whilst doing my research, I began to feel that this is unfair and greatly enjoyed the opportunity to learn more.


Coleridge-Taylor actually lived at several addresses in the area: 86 Holmesdale Road from around 1894-96, then Edith Road from 1896-98 (although the exact number he lived in has not been identified). His biographer Jeff Green says it is certain that Edith Road is where he composed ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast‘ in early 1898.’ He then moved to Saxon Road (1898-9); faced with her parents’ opposition to her marrying him, his girlfriend Jessie met him here to discuss their future. It was here that he probably wrote his ballade in A minor which was premiered at the Three Choirs Festival in Gloucester in September 1898, having been commissioned on the advice of composer Edward Elgar, local to that area who was ten years his senior. Coleridge-Taylor then lived at 30 Dagnall Park from 1898 until October 1901.

The area has a strong musical tradition

It was also the period when his ‘Song of Hiawatha’ gained critical acclaim, and saw him attending the Pan African Conference in July 1900. His son Hiawatha was born in Dagnall Park in April 1901. The young family then moved to 11 Dagmar Rd where they remained from October 1901 until 1903. Here he composed ‘Meg Blane’ for the Sheffield Festival in October 1902. His last address in Selhurst was 10 Upper Grove, from late 1903 to late 1907.

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