Arts Council of Great Britain: records, 1928-1997


Series description

Series title: Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts: Minutes and Papers, 1939-1945
Reference: EL1
Extent: 21 items

Context

At the end of December 1939, the Pilgrim Trust appointed a Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts. The Pilgrim Trust had been set up in 1930 as a result of a gift of 2 million by Edward Harkness, an American railway millionaire, to help conserve the heritage of Great Britain in all its aspects, social, intellectual and material: its name had been chosen to signify its dedication to an adventurous ideal and its link with the land of the Pilgrim Fathers. The Committee was established under the chairmanship of Lord Macmillan, who was also chairman of the Pilgrim Trust. Its objects in the first months of its foundation were to help the arts to adjust themselves to the unknown war-time conditions, and to encourage the active interest in the arts professed by certain voluntary bodies. It offered financial support to such bodies, the Pilgrim Trust having provided 25,000 to launch the experiment.

The Committee was composed of six people chosen by the Pilgrim Trustees and by Lord De La Warr, who was then President of the Board of Education. The other members of the Committee, besides Lord Macmillan, the chairman, and Dr Thomas Jones, the secretary of the Pilgrim Trust, were Sir Kenneth Clark, Director of the National Gallery, Sir Walford Davies, who had pioneered broadcast music, Thelma Cazalet, MP and W E Williams, Director of the British Institute of Adult Education and originator of the Institute's 'Art for the People' travelling exhibitions.

In 1940 the original committee (enlarged by the inclusion of Sir Kenneth Barnes, the Earl of Crawford and Miss M Fry) became the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, formally appointed by the President of the Board of Education.

Lord Macmillan's successor as chairman of CEMA was John Maynard Keynes, whose appointment ran from 1 April 1942. The position of the honorary directors was reviewed and it was agreed to put these officers onto a salaried basis. Dr Reginald Jacques became the first Music Director and Ivor Brown the first Drama Director. W E Williams who had served as honorary director for art, was now attached to the War Office as director of the Army Bureau for Current Affairs, and his place as Art Director was taken by Philip James. In the summer of 1942, Ivor Brown was forced to resign on his appointment as editor of the Observer; Lewis Casson was appointed as Drama Director in his place.

October 1942 saw a major development in organisation. Keynes informed the Council that after consultation with the president of the Board it had been decided to set up panels for Music, Art and Drama, the original intention being, that as chairman of CEMA, he would be entitled to take the chair at all panel meetings. It was made evident that decisions taken at panel metings would have the force of Council decisions, but major questions of policy would be referred to the regular quarterly meetings of Council whenever necessary, and all decisions on finance and policy would be referred to the Council for information.

In January 1945 a full-scale debate on the question of the reconstitiution of CEMA as a permanent peace time body took place. As part of the agreed plan for the future it was proposed that an Executive Committee should be established. This committee consisted of Keynes (as chairman), a general member of the Council ( Dr B Ivor Evans) and the three chairmen of the panels.

Scope and content

This series contains the records concerning the central administration and policy making of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts ( CEMA), which in later years was to become The Arts Council.

Within this series are the minutes and notes for the informal conference held in December 1939 which led to the formation of the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts, as well as the minutes of the six meetings of the committee. There are also the minutes of the Council, with sets of papers received at Council (arranged numerically, with indexes). The minutes of the first 20 meetings of the Executive Committee are also in this series, as are the two annual reports published by CEMA.

Access

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Restrictions on access

Access to unpublished material less than 30 years old may be restricted and requests for access can take up to 20 working days to be processed. When applying for access, it is helpful if you can quote the reference number, title and covering dates of the file(s) in question. For very large requests you are advised to contact us to discuss your requirements. All requests should be sent by e-mail to archive@vam.ac.uk or by post to Victoria and Albert Museum Archives (ref. ACGB), Blythe House, 23 Blythe Road, London W14 0QX.


Detailed catalogue

Reference Description Dates
EL1/1 Cultural Activities in War-time : memorandum and notes on an informal conference
Indexed
Dec 1939
EL1/2 Notes on the policy and structure of the Committee and the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts 1939-1940
EL1/3 Minutes for 1st-6th meetings of the Committee for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts
Indexed and signed
Jan 1940 - Mar 1940
EL1/4 Progress report and outline of case to be made to the Treasury for a grant 1940
EL1/5 Lists of grants allocated 1940-1941
EL1/6 Minutes for 1st-20th meetings of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts
Signed.
Apr 1940 - Dec 1942
EL1/7 Minutes for 21st-37th meetings of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts
Signed. From 35th meeting, 31 July 1945, known as the Arts Council of Great Britain. See EL4/42 for a continuation of this series.
Mar 1943 - Dec 1945
EL1/9 Alphabetical and numerical indexes to the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts Council Papers 1939 - 1945
EL1/10 CEMA Council Papers 1-25 1939-1940
EL1/11 CEMA Council Papers 26-50 1940
EL1/12 CEMA Council Papers 51-75 1940-1941
EL1/13 CEMA Council Papers 76-100 1941
EL1/14 CEMA Council Papers 101-125 1941-1942
EL1/15 CEMA Council Papers 126-150 1942-1943
EL1/16 CEMA Council Papers 151-175 1943
EL1/17 CEMA Council Papers 176-200
See EL4/45 for a continuation of this series.
1944-1945
EL1/18 Minutes of the 1st-20th meetings of the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts Executive Committee
Signed. From the 9th meeting, 13 June 1945, known as the Arts Council of Great Britain Executive Committee. See EL4/94 for a continuation of this series.
Feb 1945 - Dec 1945
EL1/20 The Arts in War-time: A Report if the work of CEMA 1942-1943 1943
EL1/21 The fifth year of CEMA: The end of the beginning: Report on the work of CEMA for 1944
See EL4/1-40 for later annual report and accounts.
1945