Sunday, April 9, 2017

London School of Music

At a recent family gathering a relative turned up with a photo I hadn't seen before. It was my husband's grandmother, Mary Leed.

Mary Leed, 1922
Mary is wearing a graduation gown and hat and holding a rolled-up certificate. The photo prompted me to search on Trove and I found a relevant article. It informs me that Mary was awarded the Diploma of Associate (A.L.C.M.) for Singing.

Mary Leed, The Argus 18 June 1922
ALCM means Associate London College of Music and Mary was entitled to put those initials after her name (ie Mary I Leed ALCM). It meant that she had studied singing for many years, moving through each of the eight grades and then the Diploma which is equivalent to a second-year university degree. She was, indeed, a very fine singer and entertained at concerts in northern Victoria.

The LCM exams started in London 1887 and were very popular in Australia. Students studied musical performance and theory and examinations were held twice a year.

Advertisement for London College of Music, The Advocate 26 May 1921
Mary grew up on a farm in Central Molga near Pyramid Hill, went to school locally and then attended Methodist Ladies College in Melbourne for a year. She married a local farmer, Ralph Alford, in September 1922 - the year the graduation photo was taken.

A generation later Mary's daughter, Shirley Alford, was awarded a Licentiate of the London College of Music, an LLCM, for piano. That award is equivalent to a final-year university module. She taught piano for many years and played the organ at church. She also supported local Eisteddfod sompetitions.

Shirley Alford, LLCM c1947
The London School of Music is still very active and is now incorporated into the University of West London.

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Lorraine