Letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Ruth Charrington

Letter No.: 
[January 1909]

13 Cheyne Walk

 Dear Miss Charrington1

We were so sorry to have missed you this afternoon.
About the orchestra - I shd like to undertake it again very much if people are keen enough to go on.2  It is really too bad of Mrs Farrer3 not to have taken any steps - she definitely told me she was going to send a circular round to members saying she was going to give it up - and I thought it wd be a good plan to do this & test the keenness of the members - and if they were keen someone else wd start it.
Now if you really want to restart it - I suggest your writing to Mrs Farrer & ask her if she intends carrying it on (you might if you felt inclined point out how awkward it is having put off things so late) and if she does not want to go on with it ask her to send you all the details about members - subscriptions etc.  Then start quite afresh.  Call a meeting of prominent members (Miss Stack's address is 17 Rutland Gate S.W.  Miss Scott Moncrieff 11 Cheyne Walk is very keen) and reorganise yourselves - elect a secretary, librarian and treasurer and settle who you will ask to conduct you.  Some of the members may suggest trying a new conductor - in which case I will if I may give my blessing and hope I shall be asked to hear the first concert - any way I think I can get you some new members.
If you ask me to conduct you again I shall make one or two conditions
(a)  That there be at least 20 violins, 4 violas & 5 cellos at all events members "on paper"
(b)  That of these there be at least 4 first rate players who are prepared to play 2nd violin
Forgive me this enormous letter - because perhaps you aren't thinking of taking it on at all.
Yrs sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

1. Ruth Charrington was a cellist who had sung in the Pilgrim's Progress music at Reigate Priory in 1906 and in other charity concerts subsequently. She was the daughter of Joanna Hadley by her first marriage and lived with her.
2. The orchestra society was porbably the 'St Valentine's Orchestra' and is clearly that which played in the concert conducted by VW at the Passmore Edwards Settlement on 10th March 1907, since many of the names in this and  subsequent letters occur in the list given in the programme of that concert preserved in the British Library, Add. MS.
3. Mrs Noel Farrer - see VWL146.


Location of original letter:

Shelfmark of original letter: 
Add. MS 70935, f.35
General notes: 

Date according to note by recipient on original.

Cobbe 56
Original database number: