Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)MS860
TitlePapers of Percy Young
Extent31 standard boxes and 1 outsized box
Thumbnail (Click this image to open a larger image)


DescriptionThe archive of Dr Percy M. Young predominantly relates to his work and career as a musicologist, writer, editor and educationist. The collection consists of musical scores; copies of published works; draft literary manuscripts; research notes and papers; correspondence; and newspaper reviews.

The musical works includes scores relating to 'The Spanish Lady'; other works by Percy Young; and pieces by Elgar and Bantock. Young was well regarded as an Elgar scholar, and with the consent of Elgar's daughter Carice, Young was given the opportunity to work on 'The Spanish Lady', Sir Edward Elgar's last, and unfinished, opera based on the Ben Jonson play, 'The Devil is an Ass' (1616). Young researched, arranged and orchestrated the sketches Elgar left behind to create a finished piece following a commission by the BBC in 1969.

The collection also includes many of Young's published works and draft literary manuscripts, mostly concerning music but a few are about Young's other passion, football. As well as numerous books, there are also articles, reviews, essays and scripts for BBC broadcasts.

MS860 contains a large section of research notes and papers, which include copies of articles, newscuttings, scripts, musical scores, correspondence etc, written or collected by Percy Young in preparation for lectures, articles, and broadcasts. Distinct sections within research notes series have been created for Young's material on Elgar's 'Enigma Variations' and on 'HMS Pinafore'. There is also a series of correspondence including correspondence with publishers; correspondence about 'The Spanish Lady'; and letters between Young and various individuals concerning musical issues or research.

There is an extensive collection of newspaper cuttings, mainly reviewing books by Percy Young, but also includes other musical related articles collected by Young. The last sections contain Young's copies of published works by Edward Elgar, and a few other legal and photographic items.
ArrangementMS860 has been arranged into 9 series:

MS860/1 - Musical works
MS860/2 - Percy Young's publications
MS860/3 - Draft literary manuscripts
MS860/4 - Research notes and papers
MS860/5 - Correspondence
MS860/6 - Newspaper articles
MS860/7 - Miscellaneous papers
MS860/8 - Young's copies of published works by Edward Elgar
MS860/9 - Printed items
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers.
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper copy is also available in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Creator NameYoung, Percy Marshall (1912-2004), musicologist
Administrative HistoryPercy Marshall Young, musicologist, writer, editor and educationist, born May 17 1912; died May 9 2004.

Nigel Fortune in his Guardian obituary in May 2004 wrote Percy Young was a 'Prolific author whose output reflected his twin passions, music and football'. Young was best known for his books about the life and music of Edward Elgar, and for his arrangement of Elgar's unfinished opera 'The Spanish Lady', but while most of Young's 60 plus published works were on music, a number were on football. The ruling conviction of his life was a belief in education, not only as a teacher and writer, but also through writing and broadcasting for children, and directing performances.

Percy Young was born at Northwich, Cheshire 1912. In 1930, he went as an organ scholar to Selwyn College, Cambridge, read English, history and music, and took a BA in 1933 and MusB in 1934. His first post was as director of music at Stranmillis College, the Belfast teacher training establishment, until 1937, when he took a DMus at Trinity College Dublin and became music adviser to the city of Stoke-on-Trent. In 1944, he was appointed director of music at Wolverhampton College of Technology. Young became a freelance writer, editor and lecturer in the 1960s, and in 1969 he married Renée Morris.

Young also found the energy to indulge his other interests, both civic and musical. Briefly a Labour councillor in Wolverhampton, he was also an active school governor, and chaired the local community relations council. In 1985, Birmingham University made him an honorary DMus, and, in 1998, Selwyn College made him an honorary fellow. Percy Young was active to the last, continuing to write, give lectures and attend events right up to his death in 2004, aged 91.

Main source of information: obituary by Nigel Fortune in 'The Guardian' 21 May 2004. Available online at (Weblink correct July 2014).
AcquisitionReceived as part of the bequest from the estate of Percy Marshall Young.
Archival NoteCollection arranged and described by J. Childs, 2014, in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description (ISAD (G)), second edition, 2000; and in-house cataloguing guide-lines.


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