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Royal Scottish Academy of Music, Glasgow

Corporate Biography



Location of main offices

Glasgow, Scotland

Main function

Higher education institution

Alternative name(s)

Glasgow Athenaeum (Limited) School of Music 1890-1929

Scottish National Academy of Music 1929-1944

Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama 1968-


The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama can trace its origins back to the Glasgow Athenaeum, which on 15 September 1890, became the Glasgow Athenaeum (Limited) School of Music - its commercial teaching having been separated off in 1888 to form the Athenaeum Commercial College. In 1929 the school became the Scottish National Academy of Music. In July 1944King George VI granted the prefix "Royal" to the Academy and Queen Elizabeth II became the Patron. The Academy became known as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 1968, a name change intended to mark its widening teaching activities.

Details of premises

The Glasgow Athenaeum (Limited) School of Music was located in St George's Place (now Nelson Mandela Place), Buchanan Street and West Nile Street, Glasgow. In the 1930s more space was needed and the adjacent Glasgow Liberal Club premises were purchased. Eventually, however, even this space was outgrown and in September 1984Dame Janet Baker laid the foundation stone for new purpose-built premises in Renfrew Street, Glasgow. These premises were open for business by the beginning of the 1987 academic year, but they were not officially opened until 9 March 1988 when the Queen Mother unveiled a commemorative plaque.


The Glasgow Athenaeum (Limited) School of Music concentrated on the teaching of music, but vestiges of non-musical activities remained until 1929 when they were swept away, mainly due to the efforts of Daniel Macaulay Stevenson. In 1929 the Academy introduced the Diploma in Musical Education, a 3 year course to train music teachers which was first awarded in 1933. In addition students were encouraged to take external diplomas such as those awarded by the Royal College of Music or the Royal Academy of Music at least until the Academy established its own diploma - the Diploma of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music - first awarded in 1958. In June 1950 the College of Dramatic Art was established, its first director being Colin Chandler. Teaching began at the new College in September of that year to train actors, directors and technicians for the professional theatre with a Scottish emphasis. The first qualifications in drama were diplomas in either dramatic art or speech and drama. The latter required educational qualifications on entry and was awarded in conjunction with the University of Glasgow. In 1983 the Diploma in Speech & Drama was validated as the BA (Dramatic Studies). In 1994, the Privy Council granted the RSAMD powers to award its own degrees.

Administrative structure

The first principal of the Glasgow Athenaeum (Limited) School of Music was Allan Macbeth. The Academy was recognised by the Scottish Education Department as a grant earning Central Institution in 1939.

Other significant information

The first honorary doctorate was awarded to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother at Clarence House on 17 November 1994 to mark her Golden Jubilee as Academy patron.

Reference codes of collections created by the corporate body

GB 0248 DC 227

GB 0249 OH1


Rules or Conventions

Authority record created according to the National Council on ArchivesRules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names (NCA Rules)1997 and International Council on Archives: Ad Hoc Committee on Descriptive StandardsInternational Standard Archival Authority Record for Corporate Bodies, Persons and Families (ISAAR)CPF1995.

Date of Creation

Corporate name authority record compiled for the GASHE project by Emily Woolmore, GASHE project archivist, 28 March 2000