Collection BR - Edward J. Broadfield: letters received

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GB GB1179 BR


Edward J. Broadfield: letters received


  • 21 Oct 1871-7 March 1913 (Creation)

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59 ff.

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Name of creator


Biographical history

Edward J[ohn] Broadfield was born 1831 in Manchester, the elder son of John Broadfield of Cheetwood, one of the Police Commissioners which preceded the Manchester Corporation. John Broadfield was keenly interested in elementary education, and this interest was shared by his son. Edward was educated privately at a school near Accrington, and later attended the Friends' School in Mount Street. He then studied at Owens College, and graduated BA (awarded by the University of London) in the first class. During his time at College he took first prizes in English language and literature, history, political economy, logic, and mental and moral philosophy. This was the beginning of Broadfield's long association with Owens College: aged 40 he was elected by the Associates of Owens College to the Court of Governors (with Professor Jack and Dr John Hopkinson he was the first member of the Court thus elected following Act of Parliament). In 1876 he was elected a life governor of the College, becoming a Council member in 1874. In 1880 he saw his work on the foundation of the Victoria University come to fruition with the grant of its charter, and he was member of both the Court and Council of the University. During the period Broadfield did some teaching work in English (standing in for the Rev William Gaskell after the death of Mrs Gaskell) and in philosophy (standing in for Professor Jevons). As well as higher education, Broadfield was also interested with other members of his family in elementary education, in particular the Peter Street School where his father was a governor for 50 years, and his brother-in-law William Hughes the Hon Secretary of its committee. This school was managed by the Swedenborgian church (being later transferred to Manchester School Board); before completing his studies at Owens College the Accrington Swedenborgian Society invited Edward to undertake ministerial work in Accrington, including the direction of education at the school. Broadfield remained a layman, and eventually a cleric was appointed to the area. Broadfield declined nomination to the second Manchester School Board (1873) but accepted nomination to the third (1876), and was re-elected at every successive triennial election. He was not a partisan member, but aimed for the best preliminary education in the Board Schools. With Herbert Birley, William Hughes and Dr John Watts he helped to found one of the first Higher Grade Schools in England. As a School Board member he also established the Day Industrial School (against fierce opposition), originated the Pupil Teachers' Centre Classes of the Board (where young teachers themselves received instruction), and helped to found the Day Training College at the Owens College, becoming a long-serving member of its committee. Broadfield was also involved in the extension of the Board's Evening Continuation School system, and the establishment of Evening Commercial Schools and Evening Institutes for Women and Girls. He also organised the Board's Free Meals Fund, acting as its treasurer for a long period. From c.1882 he was Chairman of the Finance Committee, and c.1891 was elected Chairman of the Board. Following the Education Act (1902) the School Board became the Education Committee, and Broadfield continued to serve as a member until 1909. In addition to his work as a member of the School Board, Broadfield served as a Governor of both Manchester Grammar School and Manchester High School for Girls and was a Trustee for a number of educational funds including the Mynshull and Simpson-Fay Trusts. He was also a Governor of the Whitworth Institute (later the Schools of Technology and Art). He travelled extensively on the Continent (1847-1870) and North America (1880), meeting educationalists in Boston and visiting schools where black and native American children were taught. In addition to education, Broadfield's other main interest was music. He was a Director of the Gentlemen's Concerts Society for many years, and its Vice-Chairman. He played a prominent part in the foundation of the Royal Manchester College of Music (f.1893), and was Vice-Chairman of the Council of the Royal Manchester College of Music until his death. On the death of Sir Charles Hallé in 1895 Broadfield was one of the subscribers of the Society founded to continue the Hallé concerts, and was chairman of this Hallé Concerts Society from 1899 until his death. A man of some independent means, Broadfield also derived an income from his work as a newspaper manager and writer (his description in the 1881 census). From 1857 he was a frequent contributor to the Manchester Examiner and Times, and helped in the paper's management. He was also on the staff of the Manchester Guardian and contributed numerous articles to the Manchester Weekly Times including biographical notices of Hallé subsequently published in book form. He also published several religious pamphlets during the 1880s relating to the Peter Street Society (the Swedenborgians). Broadfield also served as a JP. He died in 1913, having never married. Biographical history based on "Mr E.J. Broadfield" in "Manchester Faces and Places" volume IX (1898) pp.227-231

Name of creator


Biographical history

Hallé was born Carl Halle in Hagen, Westphalia, on 11 April 1819, (he added the accent to the ‘e’ later in life, allegedly to ensure its more accurate pronunciation by the French and English). His father Friedrich was church organist and director of Hagen's mainly amateur orchestra. By the age of four, Carl could play the piano sufficiently well to manage a sonata written by Friedrich. He also learnt to play the organ, the violin and the timpani. Under the patronage of Louis Spohr, he gave a piano recital at the age of nine; thereafter his father limited his public appearances to one a year, in Hagen. He first conducted at the age of 11 when his father was taken ill during Hagen's annual visit from a touring opera company, for which the town's musicians provided an orchestra. The boy took over the direction of Weber's Der Freischütz and Preciosa and Mozart's Die Zauberflöte. In the summer of 1835, when he was 16, Hallé went to Darmstadt to study harmony and counterpoint under Johann Rinck and to receive general musical instruction from Gottfried Weber. In 1836 he moved to Paris, hoping to become a piano pupil of Kalkbrenner (but in fact studied under George Osborne). In Paris, Hallé soon came to know Chopin, Liszt, Berlioz and Wagner. In recitals in the salons, he introduced Beethoven's sonatas to Parisian audiences: he was the first pianist to play the complete series in Paris and, later, in London. His edition of the sonatas was published by Chappell. He also appeared frequently as a chamber music player, with Alard (violin) and Franchomme (cello). During these years he became a passionate devotee of the music of Berlioz, attending the rehearsals and first performances of several of his works, including the Requiem and Roméo et Juliette. In the revolutionary year of 1848 Hallé decided to leave Paris because of diminishing concert audiences and lack of pupils. Since 1841 he had been married to Désirée Smith de Rilieu, formerly of New Orleans, and he took her and their two children (later there were nine) to London, which he had first visited in 1843. But London was crowded with émigré musicians, so he accepted an approach from Auguste Leo, a Manchester businessman and friend of Chopin, to settle there and to revivify musical life. In 1849 he was appointed conductor of the old-established Gentlemen's Concerts with a free hand to reorganize the orchestra. In 1857, when an art treasures exhibition was held in Manchester for six months, this orchestra was much enlarged and, rather than disband it, Hallé decided to engage it for a new series of concerts at his own risk. The first concert was given on 30 January 1858. Very soon the Hallé Concerts became Manchester's leading musical event; Hallé conducted them, often also appearing as piano soloist, for the remaining 37 years of his life. His programmes were adventurous and he engaged leading soloists of the day. He continued to give piano recitals in London every summer, concentrating on the sonatas of Beethoven and Schubert. In 1893 he saw the realization of one of his long-held ambitions for Manchester: the foundation of a music college in the city. He was appointed principal and piano professor at the RMCM, which opened in October of that year. Hallé was knighted in 1888, the year in which he also married the celebrated violinist Wilma Norman-Neruda (his first wife had died in 1866). With Lady Hallé he gave sonata recitals not only in Britain but on tours of Australia and South Africa. They had returned from the latter only a few weeks before Hallé's sudden death from cerebral haemorrhage. He is buried in Weaste Cemetery, Salford. This biographical history is by Michael Kennedy (in Grove), with additions.

Archival history

The source of the gift of these letters is not known, nor the date at which they were given. It is assumed that the immediate source was a member of the Broadfield family.

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Scope and content

Letters received by Edward J. Broadfield from a number of correspondents, chiefly Hallé

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WickhaS, 29/07/2003. Revised by Okanem, 13/11/2006




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