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Music heritage and archive

The Camm Music Library

Bournemouth Music Library owes its origins to a collection bequeathed by John Camm. It opened in 1913 on the top floor of the central library at the Lansdowne, moving in 2002 to a purpose-built site at The Triangle in Bournemouth. It remains one of the principal music collections in the area and has continued to support music making and music education.

The basis of the library’s extensive collection is Camm’s anthology of full orchestral scores, many of which are now only rarely performed. These historic scores can be viewed on request.

In 2010 and 2016 the music library received excellence awards from the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres for its ‘impressive all-round music library service with unique archives’.

Bournemouth music library holds programmes at many of the town’s music venues, including the old and new Winter Gardens, the Pavilion and the Pier Theatre.

Bournemouth’s musical heritage

Although a relatively new town, Bournemouth has a proud history of musical performance, going back to the 19th century. There’s been a symphony orchestra in Bournemouth since 1893, with some of the most famous composers, including Elgar and Sibelius, conducting their music here.

The library holds the archive of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, which includes programmes, photographs, recordings and memorabilia. A small team of volunteers has been cataloguing the archive and compiling a database of the orchestra’s performances, with the intention of eventually making all this information publicly available.

Many of the greatest popular solo artists and groups, including the Beatles, have also performed in the town.

If you'd like to donate programmes or other materials with a connection to the orchestra or the musical history of the town, please contact the music library.

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