Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Letter No.: 
[10 October 1939]

From R. Vaughan Williams,
The White Gates,
Westcott Road,

My dear Bessy1

I saw the lady conductor of Forest Green2 yesterday and she tells me that it is quite untrue what you were told and what you told me that the hut had been taken over by the W.O.3 and was empty.
(1) It has not been taken over by the W.O. but by the Y.M.C.A.
(2) That it is being used by the village in the ordinary way simply with the proviso that in the (unlikely) event of troops coming to the neighbourhood the Y.M.C.A. would then take it over for the troops.

If you have told any body else this I hope you will take the trouble to put it right. The poor W.O. has so many true accusations to put up with that it is important that no false accusations should be made.
With regard to our conversation over the BBC and German music it occurs to me that many musical and sensitive people who love German people and German music might for that reason find it an unbearable pain to listen to German music - because it would remind them so forcibly of what Germany had been, what it might have been - & what it still may be - & contrast this with what it is.
A true musician cannot divorce music from real life. So perhaps the BBC had this in their mind if (which I doubt) they deliberately abjured German music for a week or so.
You know we English are not always quite so stupid and so evil intentioned as our candid friends in the New Statesman and elsewhere try to make out.


1. The Dutch wife of the elder brother, Robert, of VW's friend G.M.Trevelyan ('Trevy'). She and Robert lived at The Shiffolds, near Leith Hill Place.
2. Miss Farland. See And Choirs Singing: An account of the Leith Hill Musical Festival 1905-1985 (Leith Hill, 1985).
3. War Office

Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
RCT 16.183

Location of copy:

Shelfmark of copy: 
MS Mus. 1714/1/12, ff. 116-120
General notes: 

Date noted ?in the hand of the recipient.

Cobbe 324
Original database number: