Papers of Robert Marchant

Scope and Content

This collection contains various musical manuscripts and compositions by Robert Marchant including Four Songs (1983). The material includes drafts and working papers of compositions as well as notebooks containing teaching and lecture notes on different areas of music such as 'Shakespeare and Music', 19th century composers, Elizabethan music and individual composers. The collection also includes three school diaries and four appointment diaries (1929, 1932 and 1990s), some personal and professional correspondence, copies of published musical works with annotations by Robert Marchant, and a photograph album detailing the construction of the new harpsichord for Hull University (1981).

Administrative / Biographical History

Robert Brandwood Marchant was born in Mansfield on 10 February 1916. He was educated at St John's College, Cambridge, initially studying Modern Languages before converting to Classics. Marchant then took a second BA in Music in 1939. During the Second World War he joined the Army and worked as a motor-cycle despatch rider until he volunteered to join the code-breakers at Bletchley Park as a translator. At this time he played the cello as part of a string quartet established by Andre Mangeot.

After the war, in 1947, Marchant took a position at the University of Hull, creating a music department and staying there until his retirement in 1979. Marchant was the Director of Music at the University between 1947 and 1976 and a Professor of Music from 1976 to 1979. He also oversaw the construction of Middleton Hall on the Hull campus and was one of the principal founders of the Hull Chamber Music Society which continues to hold its concerts in the Hall. A conductor as well as a musician, Marchant conducted the first performance of the Berlioz Requiem in East Yorkshire which was given in Beverley Minster. Bach and Beethoven were among his other favourite composers.

Marchant was, for many years, president of the Classical Association of Hull and the Hull Chamber Music Society. As well as playing and conducting, he composed songs and instrumental works. His monetary donation to the University of Hull enabled the establishment of the Marchant String Scholarship.

Robert Marchant died in Hull on 4 July 1995.


U DRM/1 Musical compositions

U DRM/2 Teaching and lecture notes

U DRM/3 Correspondence

U DRM/4 Diaries

U DRM/5 Published annotated works

U DRM/6 Concert programmes and photograph album

Access Information

Access will be granted to any accredited reader.

Custodial History

Bequeathed to Norman Staveley by Robert Marchant (NS was executor to RM's will) the material was deposited on 15 November 2007.

Related Material

University of Hull memorandum from Philip Larkin to Robert Marchant seeking advice about contemporary composers [U DPL/2/3/39/4]

File of Photographs: Hull Philharmonic Society's 75th Anniversary Celebration [C DSPH/4/2/4]

Records of the Hull Philharmonic Society [C DSPH]