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Photo of 6 St Leonard's Road, Croydon   Samuel Coleridge-Taylor - the last formal portrait
Aldwick: Coleridge-Taylor's house in Croydon and his last home
Copyright © Peter Hughes
  Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: last formal portrait
Copyright © Royal College of Music, London
     
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Photo of Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's grave   Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's obituary in the Times
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor's grave at Bandon Hill
Copyright © Peter Hughes
  Coleridge-Taylor's obituary notice
The Times 2/9/1912

Copyright © News International

On 28 August 1912, Coleridge-Taylor collapsed at West Croydon station while waiting for a train. He died a few days later of acute pneumonia at his home in Croydon, on 1 September 1912, at the age of 37.

He was buried in Bandon Hill Cemetery, and his funeral became a major public event. A memorial concert produced £1,440 for the family, a tidy sum given that his income in the year of his death has been estimated at less than £200. The Guildhall School of Music arranged bursaries for both of his children, and they went on to become professional musicians themselves. His widow received a Civil List pension of £100, but the music world was shocked by the fact that Coleridge-Taylor and his family were not to receive any royalties from the fabulous commercial success of Hiawatha's Wedding, and the scandal fuelled the formation of the Performing Right Society as a lobby for legislation on rights and royalties.

Hiawatha's Wedding Feast continued to be hugely popular throughout the 1920s and 30s, but after the Second World War Coleridge-Taylor's music seems to have disappeared from sight. He left, however, the legacy of a talent which drew on his ambiguous and difficult origins without shutting him off from the currents of his time and place. He had become, against all odds, part of his culture's tradition, while openly declaring the mixture of elements and ideas which moved him. His ability to flourish in between cultures and to base himself at the junction of different tracks, continues to give him, and his music, the power to speak to our times

References and further reading

Read a fuller version of Mike Phillips' essay in Adobe Acrobat (pdf format) 96KB.

Guest-curated for the British Library by Mike Phillips

Introduction Introduction
Alexander Pushkin Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Dumas Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor John Archer
 
 
 
Discover more:
Introduction
Introduction
Alexander Pushkin
Alexander Pushkin
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas
George Polgreen Bridgetower
George Polgreen Bridgetower
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Background and early life
Background and early life
Early days at the RCM
Early days at the RCM
First successes.... and Hiawatha
First successes... and Hiawatha
After Hiawatha
After Hiawatha
Coleridge-Taylor in private
Coleridge-Taylor in private
Pan Africanism, race and the USA
Pan-Africanism, race and the USA
The music ends
John Archer
John Archer
 
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