A year in the life: 1900 through the eyes of Dunhill

In an earlier post I commented on Thomas Dunhill’s diaries and their value to our knowledge of Ireland. Dunhill’s entries for 1900 are particularly useful. This is a period from which little hard evidence of Ireland’s activities survives, yet Dunhill makes numerous references to the composer in his diary for this year, in doing so often pinning down Ireland’s whereabouts, friends, events and performances. For certain the two men were very close in this year, spending a protracted holiday period together in Kent. And we can even glean what the weather was like!

  • 8 Jan: Ireland played some of his new piano pieces to Dunhill
  • 12 Feb: The two men met after  choir practice at St Jude’s, & Dunhill then went to supper with Ireland: ‘He showed me the beginnings of a new orchestral piece “By the Sea”, which I think promises to be fine.
  • 16 Feb: Both composers had new performances at the RCM
  • 24 March: The two met at Stanford’s house
  • 28 March: The two met for a walk and tea in Bayswater
  • 21 May: ‘I went to see Jack Ireland & spent the evening at his place. We played our own works to each other!’
  • 15 June: ‘Saw Ireland. We are to have both our works tried on Tuesday week, with trombones!’
  • 19 June: Ireland, Dunhill and Vaughan Williams met together
  • 22 June: Ireland and Dunhill went to tea with Forsyth
  • 23 June: Dunhill to dinner with Ireland: ‘he took the opportunity of saying a great many spiteful things about me to my face in his usual manner’
  • 26 June: Ireland’s new Symphonic Prelude was performed in the West Theatre Albert Hall
  • 2 July: Dunhill went to supper with Ireland
  • 7 July: Met Ireland at 3 o’clock in St George’s Chapel, went into the organ loft for the service. They walked by the river & came back to Dunhill’s rooms for tea. Dunhill played the Kyrie & Gloria of his Mass, then they went on to take a  further long walk
  • 16 July: Dunhill went to see Ireland, to supper
  • 11 August: Ireland wrote to Dunhill from Herne Bay
  • 13 August: Dunhill met Ireland in Whitstable on a very hot day. They bathed & had dinner with the choir boys. On pier in
  • 18 August: Both met again in Kent, had  tea, & then music, ‘& sat in garden, also, & smoked & chatted’
  • 20 August: Still in Kent, they played croquet
  • 21 August: ‘In afternoon Jack [Ireland] went over to Herne Bay by bus, & returned later’
  • 22 August: They went to the baths (with Ireland as a spectator). Then some duets, & Ireland played some of his compositions.
  • 23 August: The two men ‘pottered about in the garden’. Some sharp rainstorms…went to the Cathedral Service at 3pm. It was a lovely afternoon. They then played chess.
  • 24 August: Both men in Canterbury. They played duets in the evening & Ireland played Chopin.
  • 25 August: ‘Jack went up to town via Herne Bay, as he had to fetch his things. He is going to Germany with his sister’
  • 15 October: met with Ireland and Forsyth
  • 1 December: Supper with Ireland in Sloane Square
  • 15 December: Dunhill lunched with Ireland, Gatty, & Boughton, at Rampaggi’s

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