Saturday, September 15, 2012

Jeffrey Green: 'Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and the contributions by African Americans 1913'

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912)]

The English historian Jeffrey Green is author of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, a Musical Life, an authoritative biography published by Pickering & Chatto Publishers (2011). He is also a Guest Blogger at AfriClassical:

Aldwick, 6 St Leonards Road, Croydon
by Jeffrey Green
Coleridge-Taylor died at home, at Aldwick in St Leonards Road, Croydon. He had lived there for two years. That house remained the family home as his son (born 1900) and daughter (born 1903) grew up. His widow Jessie lived there for at least twenty-five years before relocating to Banstead in Surrey where her Memory Sketch of 1943 was written.

The composer’s friend, librarian William Berwick Sayers, wrote the first biography (1915) and on page 247 he noted “The house has now been presented to Mrs. Coleridge-Taylor mainly by the coloured people of America, and it is hoped that a memorial tablet may be placed upon the front of it”. Biographer Geoffrey Self noted the moribund Coleridge-Taylor Society of Washington revived to mount a concert in May 1913 and gathered donations “sufficient for the house ‘Aldwick’ to be presented to his widow” (Self, The Hiawatha Man, 1995 page 24).

Visiting the house Surrey Opera director Jonathan Butcher was shown documents left behind when the present owner purchased the house. The indenture of number 6, St. Leonard’s Road (with apostrophe) dated 2 December 1913 registered at Somerset House on 26 November (LVD W50052) records the property was sold by David Waller, a builder, to Jessie Coleridge-Taylor for £700. There is a reference to two indentures dated 28 June 1883 and 30 April 1891. Those two dates are mentioned in a conveyance dated 1946 when Jessie sold the property to Dorothy Gunner of 91 Waddon Road, for £1,600. Her address was Lulworth Cottage, Sandersfield Road, Banstead as in her 1943 Memory Sketch.

Another document shown to Jonathan Butcher was a letter from the Greater London Council of February 1969, to Arthur Strong of Carlton Road, South Croydon, promising to investigate his suggestion that a plaque should be erected on the house. The council erected its plaque on 30 Dagnall Park, Selhurst, in 1975.

How much was the contribution from African Americans?

15 September 2012

[Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (1875-1912) is profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List and a Bibliography by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma, We are collaborating with the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Foundation of the U.K.,]

No comments: