Royal Recollections, Battlefront Memories and Ceremonial Slip Ups

Hear the Extraordinary Stories From the Home of Military Music at Kneller Hall

It’s occupied a prominent position next to Twickenham Stadium in Whitton for over 160 years and over 20,000 musicians have passed through its ornamental doors.  Now, local people have a chance to hear the colourful stories from the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall directly from the horses’ mouths at two events celebrating the extraordinary musical history of the institution – at Whitton Library and the OSO Arts Centre in Barnes in February.

Thanks to the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Museum of Army Music and Richmond Council, Veterans’ charity the Legasee Educational Trust is currently exploring the history of Kneller Hall and examining the importance of music to the military effort.  Featuring the filmed oral accounts of 40 veterans and military personnel who trained or worked at the school, the project will also record the numerous bugle calls that have been used for vital military communication over hundreds of years.

Local school children are helping with educational lesson plans, which will sit alongside the filmed resources on the Legasee Educational Trust website for future generations to learn from, and the activity will culminate in a spectacular public concert to be held at Kneller Hall in Summer 2019.

Now, residents of Richmond upon Thames can follow the progress of the project for themselves and discover some of the amazing stories that have been unearthed to date at two special events. The first, informal, event at Whitton Library on February 20 sees Legasee Educational Trust founder Martin Bisiker present videos of veteran musicians telling their stories from the pomp of ceremonial occasions to the heat of battlefront duties, while the second event sees the revival of the institution’s “Pleasant Evenings” at the OSO Arts Centre in Barnes on Wednesday February 27.

Martin Bisker, Founder and Chair of the Legasee Educational Trust said: 

“Musicians from the Royal Military School of Music have played a vital role at our greatest state occasions and also in the heat of combat around the world.  We have been astonished by some of the incredible tales that have come out of Kneller Hall and are thrilled to be able to share them with people in the local area.”

Esther Mann, Curator, Museum of Army Music said:

“The Museum of Army Music is very proud of its position in the heart of the Richmond Borough and we are delighted to be able to extend our resources and our stories and take them into the community for even more people to enjoy”.

Wednesday 20 February at 7pm in Whitton Library, 141 Nelson Rd, Twickenham TW2 7BB 

Martin Bisiker, founder of the Legasee Educational Trust explores the 160-year history of military music at Kneller Hall in Whitton. See videos of veteran musicians telling their stories from the pomp and pageantry of state occasions to frontline army duties across the world. Hear how military musicianship has changed throughout history, and discover the significant part that Kneller Hall has played in that. Discover more about the Museum of Army Music at Kneller Hall and the work of Legasee with veterans of many conflicts across our armed forces.

Entry is free with adults and children welcome.  No tickets required, just turn up at the event.

Wednesday 27 February at OSO Arts Centre, 49 Station Road, Barnes, SW13 0LF

At this special event, veterans’ charity the Legasee Educational Trust, The Museum of Army Music and the OSO have joined forces to celebrate a project chronicling 160 years of history at the Royal Military School of Music at Kneller Hall, Twickenham.  Legasee founder Martin Bisiker will present a slice of life at the institution through the eyes of the countless musicians who have studied there, followed by a musical performance from the saxophone ensemble Court Way Sax and a chance to meet veterans and hosts.  The event echoes a melodious tradition dating back to the early 20th Century of junior musicians entertaining their officers in the lounge at Kneller Hall.

Doors open at 1900 for a 1930 start.  Ticket price £20, to include refreshments.  



Press contact: Beverley Wilkins: / 07525 042572

Notes to Editors:

About Kneller Hall

Kneller Hall is the home of Military music. The Royal school of Military Music was founded there in 1857, It was formed by the then Duke of Cambridge, to train musicians. Kneller Hall is now home to the Corps of Army Music, The Royal Military School of Music and the Museum of Army Music. The Museum of Army Music features the history of military music from the early beginnings of signalling to the current role of State occasions, recruitment, supporting regiments and liaison with other countries. The Museum of Army Music holds a collection of musical instruments, uniforms, paintings and archives, and this Oral history project will be an extension of the work undertaken by the museum.

 About Legasee Educational Trust

Legasee Educational Trust is a charity set up to record the experiences and observations of all veterans of conflict from WWII until present day ‘to create the largest online film archive of this aspect of our social history that can be used for education, learning and better understanding for today’s generation and many generations to come’.  Legasee’s film archive is well regarded and used to support educational projects, museums, media  and publications in the UK and Europe.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

About Richmond upon Thames Council

Richmond Council has supported this project through its Civic Pride Fund. The Civic Pride Fund is a small grant fund, which supports local initiatives that make a positive difference to the borough.

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Afghanistan support

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