Correspondence and related administrative papers

Scope and Content

File of correspondence and enclosures received and sent by Eric W. White as the Chairman in 1964. Including:

Letter from Stephen Reiss (Governor), suggesting the handing over of greater financial responsibility to Jonathan Steele as Director, 2 Jan 1964 (p. 1). The letter was also copied to Benjamin Britten (President) and Anthony Gishford (Treasurer);

Note of telephone message from Stephen Reiss, 8 Jan 1964 (p. 3);

Letter from Stephen Reiss, 8 Jan 1964 (p. 4);

Letter from Stephen Reiss, making it clear that giving Jonathan Steele total freedom from the Board would necessitate Benjamin Britten's withdrawal as President, and would make obtaining charitable funding more difficult, 12 Feb 1964 (p. 15);

Handwritten letter from Stephen Reiss, stating his opinion that the governing body should dissolve and leave Jonathan Steele to manage the choir entirely independently, 14 Dec 1964 (p. 58);

Letter from Stephen Reiss, stating his support for Jonathan Steele in continuing with the choir independently and reiterating his backing of a dissolution of the Board, 18 Dec 1964 (p. 65);

Letter from Anthony Gishford, stating his intention to step down as Treasurer, 2 Jan 1964 (p. 2);

Letter to Ministry of Education regarding registration of the Assocation, 13 Jan 1964 (p. 5);

Correspondence with Rosamund Strode (Secretary) -

14 Jan 1964 (p. 7), 26 Jan 1964 (p. 9), 3 Feb 1964 (p. 11- lists new Governors as Lennox Berkeley, James Lawrie and George Rizza, agreed at recent meeting), 4 Feb 1964 (p. 13), 6 Feb 1964 (p. 14 - enclosing annotated draft minutes of Governors' meeting, 31 Jan 1964), 24 Feb 1964 (p. 24), 29 Feb 1964 (p. 26), 18 Mar 1964 (p. 29 - attaching draft accounts), 15 Apr 1964 (p. 39 - enclosing draft minutes for Governors' meeting on 20 Mar 1964 and copy of Jonathan Steele's Artistic Director's report for Jan-Mar 1964), 21 Apr 1964 (p. 41), 22 Apr 1964 (p. 42), 5 Jul 1964 (p. 46 - enclosing draft minutes for Governors' meeting, 14 May 1964), 10 Aug 1964 (p. 50), 17 Sep 1964 (p. 52 - enclosing draft minutes for Governors' meeting, 30 Jul 1964), 1 Oct 1964 (p. 56), 15 Dec 1964 (p. 59 - enclosing handwritten note from Rosamund Strode in response to events at Governors' meeting that afternoon, where Eric W. White read out a letter from Benjamin Britten as President, expressing his dissastisfaction with Jonathan Steele and his directorship of the choir). [No copy of the President's letter survives within the current archives], 18 Dec 1964 (p. 66 - enclosing draft minutes of the Governors' meeting, 15 Dec 1964);

Letter from Michael Wylde, refusing to attend Governors' meeting, 22 Jan 1964 (p. 8);

Letter to Michael Wylde, inviting him to become Acting Manager of the Association on a trial basis (unsalaried), 4 Feb 1964 (p. 12);

Letter from Michael Wylde, 17 Feb 1964 (p. 20 - regarding expenses);

Reply to Michael Wylde, 21 Feb 1964 (p. 22);

Letter from Michael Wylde, resigning his post as Manager, 28 Sep 1964 (p. 53);

Reply to Michael Wylde, expressing regret and thanking him for his work, 1 Oct 1964 (p. 54);

Letter from Michael Wylde, stating that he will continue working until after the Song Contest, 5 Oct 1964 (p. 57);

Letter from Lennox Berkeley, confirming his acceptance of the invitation to join the Board of Governors, and registering his approval of George Rizza as a second new member, 28 Jan 1964 (p. 10);

Letter to Lennox Berkeley, alerting him to the newly scheduled Governors' meeting on 4 Jan 1965 and the importance of attending because of the recent letter from Britten, 18 Dec 1964 (p. 63);

Letter from Jonathan Steele in response to recent Governors' meeting (31 Jan 1964), making it clear that he does not think the administration of the Association can continue due to his perceived conflict with the Board, and making suggestions for alterations to current organisation, 14 Feb 1964 (p. 18);

Reply to Jonathan Steele, responding on behalf of the Board to points raised in his letter, 18 Feb 1964 (p. 21);

Letter from Jonathan Steele, 7 Mar 1964 (p. 27);

News cutting featuring article (and photograph) regarding Giancarlo Menotti's auditioning members of the London Boy Singers for his new opera 'Martins Lie' from The Sunday Telegraph, 16 Feb 1964 (p. 19);

Letter to Benjamin Britten, reporting frankly the difficulties between the Board and Jonathan Steele and raising the possibility that the Association may have to disband. Also mentions James Lawrie's departure from the Board, 22 Feb 1964 (p. 23);

Copy letter from Benjamin Britten in reply, expressing concern over the future of the choir, Undated [Mar 1964] (p. 31);

Letter to Benjamin Britten, asking to meet in November in order to discuss Britten's anxieties over Jonathan Steele's handling of the choir, 1 Oct 1964 (p. 55)

Annotated performance engagements list for Dec 1963-Aug 64, 17 Mar 1964 (p. 28);

Copy of letter to Peter Pears from John Andrewes, with manuscript additional notes for Eric W. White, regarding recent meeting to discuss the Song Contest, 30 Mar 1964 (p. 30);

Budget estimation for the Song Contest, to be held on 28 Nov 1964 (p. 32);

Letter to Leonard Elmhirst of the Elmgrant Trust, giving further reports of the choir's progress, 3 Apr 1964 (p. 33);

Reply from Leonard Elmhirst, confirming the renewal of their grant to the Association for a further two years, 6 Apr 1964 (p. 34);

Director's Report 1964 by Jonathan Steele, outlining intended performances and other issues related to the choir, Mar 1964 (p. 37);

Handwritten letter from John Andrewes, suggesting 'Sue' as matron for the choir, 1 May 1964 (p. 43);

Publicity letter for the 'Friends of the London Boy Singers', set up by Jonathan Steele and Michael Wylde, 2 June 1964 (p. 44);

Programme and class list for the Song Contest for Boy Singers, to be held on 28 Nov 1964 at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London (p. 45);

Letter to Anthony Field, inviting him to join the Board of Governors, 10 Jul 1964 (p. 47);

Reply from Anthony Field, offering his services as a financial advisor to the Association, preferring not to become a Governor, 17 Jul 1964 (p. 48);

Copy of letter to the Director of Music at the Arts Council from Pam Eatwell of the Finchley Children's Music Group, applying for funds to commission a new children's opera and enclosing leaflets detailing the group's activities, 1 Aug 1964 (p. 49);

Programme for concert 'Sacred Music for Boys' Voices' given by the London Boy Singers, May 1964 (p. 60);

Letter from Rev. E.J. Pulman enclosing letters from the parents of boys in the choir, expressing their support for Jonathan Steele, 13 Dec 1964 (p. 61);

Reply to the Rev. E.J. Pulman, addressing points raised in the letter from parents, 18 Dec 1964 (p. 62);

Letter to the parents from Jonathan Steele in thanks for their support, explaining the situation regarding the letter as read out by Eric W. White at the Governors' meeting 15 Dec 1964, in which Benjamin Britten [not named by Mr Steele] expressed dissatisfaction with his methods of teaching the boys, and the distress this 'personal' attack caused him, 18 Dec 1964 (p. 67);

Letter from Professor B.C. Roberts of the London School of Economics, father to two members of the choir, in support of Jonathan Steele, 23 Dec 1964 (p. 68).

Access Information


This material is made available under the standard conditions of the Britten-Pears Foundation. Readers will be required to produce proof of identity and to sign a Reader's Undertaking form.