MC:P424 Papers of Harold Boult (Lay Clerk 1930-59)
Harold Boult was a Lay Clerk who sang bass decani in the College Choir from 1930 to the late 1950s. Boult was born on 22 September 1903 in Upton-on Severn in Worcestershire, where he was an elementary school teacher, choirmaster, organist and member of the county’s Central Choir before he moved to Oxford in 1930 to join Magdalen College Choir. He served as a Lay Clerk for over twenty years, broken by a period of service with the Royal Air Force from 1940 until the end of the Second World War. Lay Clerks were not full-time College employees, so during this time he also worked at the Bodleian Library.
Boult died in 1959, having developed cancer not long before. He is described in a memoir by Bryan Robson (AC. 1956-9), published in the Magdalen College Record 2013, as having a ‘cavernously mellifluous’ voice, though by that time ‘well past its best.’ This collection relates mostly to the activities of the College Choir between 1932 and 1958.
All papers, EXCEPT those catalogued under MC:P424/X7, were donated by Boult’s daughter, Mrs Janet Robinson, and accessioned as 13/167.
The items catalogued under MC:P424/X7 were donated in December 2014 by the Archivist at Magdalen College School in Oxford and accessioned as 14/205. She had been contacted by a former chorister, John Brooke, who had been on the choir trip depicted in MC:P424/P1/1 and was able to identify several previously unknown individuals shown in the photograph. Mr Brooke also offered his own memoir of the day: this has been catalogued with Boult’s papers due to its particularly close relationship to MC:P424/P1/1.
Catalogued in December 2013 and December 2014.
The collection has been divided into the following series: