The Leila McCutcheon Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains records of Leila McCutcheon's appointment to the academic staff of The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge, in 1947, her subsequent promotions to Senior Mistress (1949) and Headmistress (1951) and her resignation in 1960, due to ill health. It also contains assorted ephemera associated with The Royal Ballet School and The Royal Ballet. Specifically it includes:

  • Correspondence with McCutcheon (between 1947 – 65), in the form of letters, postcards and cards, from individuals including Ninette de Valois, Arnold Haskell, Anya Linden and Joyce Bishop. Several of the letters concern McCutcheon's various appointments at the School, the ill health that led to her departure from White Lodge, and her plans to move to Dublin (1960).
  • A letter from Ninette de Valois (April 1955) discusses possible ways to manage the Lower School move to White Lodge in September 1955.
  • Financial papers comprising pay slips in the form of memos and information on income taxes, 1944-51; address book and appointment diary – the address book is undated and contains personal and academic contact addresses. The appointment diary is dated 1949.
  • Typescript documents on topics such as the Moscow State Choreographic School, G.A.B.T (U.S.S.R), a BBC film documentary about the School entitled Dancers of Tomorrow, 1955, and the Report by H.M. Inspectors on the Sadler’s Wells School (Lower School), Kensington, London (1951).
  • Photographs taken at The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge (c. 1950-60) showing academic lessons, informal activities in the grounds, and events, such as Maypole dancing and fencing.
  • Records of The Association of Head Mistresses, 1957-60, along with articles from the association and a membership letter to McCutcheon welcoming her to the association on 14 March, 1959.
  • Various programmes from Sadler's Wells Theatre, the Royal Opera House, the Royal Festival Hall, Gala Performances of The Sadler’s Wells Ballet, 1950-65. Also, order of service for a Lilian Baylis memorial held at Southwark Cathedral, 1947.
  • Magazines featuring The Royal Ballet School at White Lodge, including two copies of The Dancing Times (1956), one of The Radio Times (1955), and two copies of the The Listener (1955 and 1958).
  • Assorted press cuttings (1937-63); some complete newspapers featuring the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (1953) including The Evening Standard, The Telegraph, The Times and The Star; also news cuttings featuring the retirement of Dame Ninette de Valois (1963) and the official opening of The Royal Ballet Lower School at White Lodge (1956). Obituary of Lilian Baylis (1874-37) news cutting, undated.
  • Academic material including two textbooks on biological drawings (1943) and a book on A Short History of French Literature by Lauren Bisson (1945).

Administrative / Biographical History

Leila McCutcheon was appointed Senior Mistress of The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge in 1949, and became Headmistress in 1951. She resigned in 1960, due to ill health.

Access Information

This collection is open for consultation and can be viewed by appointment only. Please contact White Lodge Museum via our website at The Royal Ballet School, White Lodge Museum

Acquisition Information

Gift of Ann Budd, niece of Leila McCutcheon, 18 December 2007