In 1901 the Company held a competition for a new March to be played during the Coronation festivities of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra the following year. A prize of 50 guineas was to be awarded to the winner and the adjudicators were to be Sir Frederick Bridge, Sir Walter Parratt (Master of the King’s Musick) and Sir Hubert Parry. There were 189 competitors, the winner was Mr Percy Godfrey (1859-1945) shown left in a 1902 press cutting; click to expand and show the cutting's text. He was Master of Music at King’s School, Canterbury.
This decision was reported at a Court Meeting on 21st January 1902. Full details of this winning entry and the composer is available by Clicking Here.
The Company also retains a number of the unsuccessful entries to this Competition, all of which had been submitted without the composer being identified. A title or 'motto' identified the actual composition and a sealed envelope was provided by the applicant that contained the Composer's name and address and would only be opened after the competition had been resolved.
Most of the 188 unsuccessful manuscripts were posted back to the sender, but 12 have been retained by the Company (reason unknown), along with the accompanying sealed envelopes identifying the composer. These remaining envelopes (see them all in the image right) were not actually opened until 15th May 2000 during a ceremony in the Barbican Library on the opening day the Company's 1st Quincentenial Exhibition.
An article about this envelope-opening activity was published in Preserve Harmony and is reproduced below. Ursula Vaughan Williams is shown holding a published edition of Percy Godfrey's winning entry (Click Here to see that winning entry).
Click the buttons below to see those 12 unplaced entries. There is no record of how close, or distant any of them were to winning the Prize.
The Company has also retained the 'motto' envelope and some further correspondence from Mr Paul Rigby regarding his submission entitled Shrew. Click on the image right to see the envelope and notelet stating the composer's name and address; a note requesting the speedy return of the original manuscript; and a piece of manuscript giving a few bars from the composition.