404 Hampstead Garden Suburb Virtual Museum : Document : Rosabel Watson [SUFL39]
Rosabel Watson
Rosabel Watson

Rosabel Watson

Was appointed Director of the School of Music at the Institute in 1911 and had organised concerts there in the two previous years. She is likely to have been brought to HGS by Henrietta Barnett as she had previously organised similar Sunday afternoon concerts at Toynbee Hall.

Rosabel Watson was an outstanding musician, and formed the Aeolian Orchestra in 1910, the first ever all female orchestra in England. She appeared frequently in the suffragist press as her orchestra often performed at suffrage meetings and rallies in support of both suffragette and suffragist organisations. The Common Cause describes an appearance at a 1910 NUWSS function saying her “band is composed largely, if not entirely, of ardent suffragists who are also excellent artistes…”

According to the London Daily News, referring to January 1908 Great Demonstration, reports that “In the course of the proceedings rally songs, written especially for the occasion, will be rendered by a choir of Ladies, conducted by Miss Rosabel Watson”. She went to work as Music Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company between 1916 and 1940.

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Document, SUFL39