Benslow Music Centre, in Hitchin Hertfordshire, is a place I often mention on this site, one of the heartbeats of Britain's amateur music scene. Its year-round programme of short residential courses is extraordinary, and much loved. Well known to others is its Instrumental Loan Scheme, something which has been ninety years in the making.
In fact on this day in 1932, two violinists named Edith Croll and Editha Knocker, wrote to The Times, proposing that "Good Violins Lying Idle" around the nation could be collected and loaned out to deserving young players. This is still the essence of Benslow's scheme. Many excellent instruments are available for loan at a minimal subscription (a small deposit fee is also initially requested.) Particularly for string players, it solves the problem of what to do when a young learner is showing promise and needing to progress to a better instrument.
For many years, this fine collection has been housed at Benslow, somehow stuffed into a few small spare rooms. What a happy day therefore when the Aston Building was opened, the ribbon cut by me myself, Benslow's current President. (And here is my opening speech.) This is a dedicated and spacious facility, properly staffed and with a fulltime technician in attendance. Please spread the word about this valuable educational resource.