The Garden Guide

Book: London and Its Environs, 1927
Chapter: 12 Knightsbridge and Kensington

Royal College of Music and College of Science and Technology

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Immediately to the west of the Albert Hall are the Royal College of Organists and, a little farther back, Queen Alexandra's House (1886), a hostel for lady-students. Immediately behind the Albert Hall, at the head of a broad flight of steps descending to Prince Consort Road, stands a bronze statue of Prince Albert, by Joseph Durham (1863), overlooking a remarkable group of institutions devoted to science and art here concentrated in a comparatively small area. In Prince Consort Road, immediately opposite the steps, is the Royal College of Music, incorporated in 1883 but occupying a building (presented by Mr. Sampson Fox) opened in 1894. The college has a teaching-staff of 60, and over 700 students. The director is Sir Hugh Percy Allen. In the basement is the Donaldson Museum of Musical Instruments, a collection of antique historical instruments presented by Sir George Donaldson in 1894 (open free daily in term-time, 10-1 and 3-5; closed on Saturday). The instruments date chiefly from the 16-18th century and include many guitars and mandolines, some of beautiful workmanship, various kinds of hurdy-gurdies, pocket fiddles, etc. By the entrance wall Benjamin Franklin's harmonica or musical glasses; harpsichords of the 16th century; Louis XV.'s guitar. Between the pillars at the end of the room Bust of Gluck, by Houdon. In an adjoining case, guitar believed to have belonged to David Rizzio; zither once belonging to Titian. In a case on the other long wall, clavicytherium, or upright spinet of the 15th century, probably the oldest keyboard stringed instrument in existence; sackbut. In other cases on this wall are violins, bagpipes and harps. On a stand, Gradual (late 15th century). The museum is decorated and furnished in the style of the Italian Renaissance of the 16th century. The Library includes the Library of Antient Concerts, the Library of the Sacred Harmonic Society, and many musical instruments. On each side the College of Music is adjoined by buildings belonging to the Imperial College of Science and Technology, an extensive and magnificently equipped institution or group of associated colleges, incorporated by royal charter in 1907 to give the highest specialized instruction and to provide the fullest equipment for the most advanced training and research in various branches of science, especially in their application to industry. The college, which is subsidized by Government, the London County Council, and the City and Guilds of London Institute, occupies eight distinct buildings in this vicinity. It has a teaching-staff of 155 and about 1200 students. The rector is Sir T. H. Holland. The associated colleges are at present the Royal College of Science, the Royal School of Mines, and the City and Guilds Engineering College. Adjoining the College of Music on the west is the building for the department of Chemical Technology; on the opposite side of the road are the department of Botany (including Plant Physiology, Biochemistry, and the Technology of Woods and Fibres) and the Imperial College Union (a students' club). Adjoining the College of Music on the east is the building (begun in 1909) for the departments of Mining, Metallurgy, and Geology including Oil Technology); next to this, and facing Exhibition Road, is the City and Guilds Engineering College; farther on, on the opposite side of the same road, is the former Royal College of Science, with the departments of Mathematics and Mechanics and of Zoology. The administrative offices and the departments of Physics, Chemistry, and Optical Engineering are in the large building, designed by Sir Aston Webb and opened in 1905, that occupies nearly the whole of the south side of Imperial Institute Road. The Aeronautics Department, established in 1920, is in the house at the north east corner of Prince Consort Road (1 Lowther Gardens). At the corner of Imperial Institute Road and Exhibition Road, adjoining the Engineering College, is the Royal School of Needlework (open free daily 10-6, Saturday 10-1), containing a collection of ancient and modern furniture, needlework, etc., partly for sale. Above the post office at the opposite corner is the Meteorological Office. Adjacent, in Exhibition Road, is the entrance to a subway leading to (+ mile) South Kensington Station.