Thomas Pitfield Collections

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 1179 TP
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      13 series; approx. 570 individual files/items. Chiefly works on paper, but also three-dimensional works in wood and other materials, and bindings in leather. Some photographic materials.

Scope and Content

Music, artwork, writings and other output of Thomas Pitfield covering virtually his entire creative life. Also correspondence and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Pitfield was born Apr 5 1903 in Bolton, and worked in engineering on leaving school in 1917. In 1924 he entered the Royal Manchester College of Music for a year. He taught at Tettenhall College from 1935-1945, becoming composition tutor at the RMCM in 1947 and latterly the RNCM, retiring in 1973.

His numerous compositions included works for orchestra, brass band, chamber ensembles, piano solo, and choral.

Pitfield published 2 volumes of autobiography: No Song, No Supper (1986) and A Song After Supper (1991), and many other works. Fuller details of his life can be found in these volumes.

He married Alice Astbury, a fellow student at the RMCM, on December 26 1934, and died in 1999.


Order imposed in 13 series, as follows:

  • Notebooks
  • Music
  • Writings
  • Art on paper
  • Three-dimensional art/crafts
  • Scrapbooks and other items collected for reference
  • Early education and other related material
  • Journals
  • Reviews, programmes and exhibitions of work
  • Correspondence
  • Photographs
  • Alice Pitfield
  • Miscellaneous items

Access Information

Open for consultation.


Description by M Sarah Wickham.

Other Finding Aids

Royal Northern College of Music Archive catalogue (CALM).

Alternative Form Available

Not known.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright The Pitfield Trust.

Appraisal Information

Much material was apparently destroyed by Pitfield during the late 1990s, at the instigation of his wife.

Custodial History

Donated by Alice Pitfield, 2000.


None expected, although additional items particularly musical MS may re-appear from publishers.

Related Material

Concert programmes and biography; Bolton Museum, Art Gallery & Aquarium (acc. num. BOLMG 1999.202.1=3).

Alice Pitfield volume at Leeds University Library (ref MS 810).

MS of A Sketchbook of Men at Trafford Libraries.

Papers of Bernard Barrell (composer), Britten-Pears Library, Suffolk.


An interim catalogue of the music of Thomas Pitfield, including details of first performances and publication (where known), has been compiled by John Turner and is published in Manchester Sounds 2004 : pp.147-183. This catalogue also includes a discography.