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Repository University of Bristol Library Special Collections
Level Collection
Ref No DM2103
Title Papers of Frank Merrick and Hope Squire
Date late nineteenth-twentieth century
Extent 30 archive boxes, 1 bankers box, 1 bundle
Description Papers of Frank Merrick and Hope Squire relating to their musical careers as pianists, composers, and teachers including concert programmes, manuscript and printed compositions, and gramophone records, with correspondence and articles reflecting their political interests in vegetarianism, women's suffrage, and Esperanto. Frank Merrick was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during the First World War; the collection includes a group of 78 letters that he and Hope Squire exchanged during his imprisonment, with a file of official papers relating to his trial, imprisonment, and release, including correspondence between Hope Squire and the prison governors.

Personal papers include correspondence, scrapbooks, diaries, and a large collection of photographs of family and friends, among them photographs of musicians and actors such as Robert Donat and Dame Clara Butt.

There is also a diary, scrapbook, and poems by Hope Squire's father, John Barret Squire, an engineer and poet.

Frank Merrick (1886-1981), FRNCM, FRCM, CBE, MMUS, pianist and composer, was born in Bristol, the son of Dr Frank Merrick and Phoebe O'Carrol of County Clare, Ireland. His father was a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, and a church organist. His grandfather, William Merrick, was a builder from Bristol. When Frank was eight, they went to a performance of the Messiah, and followed the score together.

Asthma prevented Frank Merrick from attending school; instead he was educated at home by his parents and by a governess, Jane Hurd, nicknamed 'Mouie'. He played to Paderewski, who recommended that he study piano in Vienna with Leschetizky, which he did from 1898-1901, and again in 1905, and later toured as a concert pianist with the contralto Dame Clara Butt. He taught piano at the Royal Manchester College of Music from 1911-1929; at the Royal College of Music from 1929-1956; and at Trinity College from 1956.

Awards for composition included a diploma of honour at the International Rubenstein Competition in 1910; and the Gramophone Company's Schubert Centenary Competition for his completion of Schubert's 'Unfinished' Symphony in 1928. He is also noted for his edition of the works of John Field. The University of Bristol awarded him an honorary degree in 1968.

During his time in Manchester, he was Treasurer of the Suffragist Movement and active in the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Around 1911, the RSPCA ran a campaign for the humane slaughter of animals for meat. Frank and his first wife, Hope Squire, became vegetarian because of this and he was for many years a Vice-President of the Vegetarian Society. He was a conscientious objector during the First World War and was imprisoned between 1916 and 1919. During his time in prison, he learnt Esperanto, and later composed a number of songs in the language. Frank was first held in Wandsworth Prison, but the conscientious objectors were such a nuisance that they were dispersed to other prisons and he served the rest of his time at Wormwood Scrubs.

Frank Merrick was the second of three children. The eldest, Margery, who was born in 1885, married Sebastian Oxley Smith, but the archive contains little information about her, except that she was taken away from school to pay for Frank's time in Vienna. Horace, the youngest, born in 1888, won scholarships to Bristol Grammar School, then to Oxford where he read Classics. He went on to teach Classics at Clifton College. He was awarded the 1915 Star and Medals in the First World War. In their youth, the family lived at 7 Hughenden Rd, Bristol. Margery and her husband, with Horace, retired to Hughenden Rd in the 1950s.

Frank Merrick married the pianist and composer Evelyn Hope Squire (1878-1936) in 1911. After her death, he married Sybil Phoebe Case in 1937 (1911-1989), and they had three children: Phoebe Hope (1939-), Paul Antony (1941-) and Celia Frances (1946-).

Evelyn Hope Squire

Evelyn Hope Squire (1878-1936), pianist, composer, and teacher, was born in Southport in 1878. She studied piano under Henry Gadsby, Dohnanyi, and Tobias Matthay and enjoyed a career as a concert pianist and teacher. Although she was not taught composition systematically, she composed about 40 songs, including settings of Newbolt's 'Messmates', and 'Imogen', 'Red Indian Love Songs' and excerpts from Longfellow's 'Hiawatha'. Works for piano included variations on 'Black-eyed Susan' and the tone-poem 'Tom Bowling'. Hope took over and taught Frank's pupils at the Royal Manchester College of Music whilst he was in prison, but was not allocated any fresh students.

Hope Squire was the daughter of John Barret Squire, a civil engineer. She had a brother, Lindsey, and a younger sister, Pansy, who kept an antiques shop in Chelsea, London. Lindsey, who was also a musician, worked for the RSPCA.

John Barret Squire

John Barret Squire's obituary from the Minutes of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Vol c.xxii Session 1907-1908 Part ii (DM2103/J/2/6)

John Barret Squire was a civil engineer, born at Louth in Lincolnshire on 8 March 1851. After obtaining his practical training chiefly on railway works, he was employed in 1874 as contractor's engineer on the construction of the Chatburn and Hellifield Railway. Between 1876 and 1878, in partnership with Mr John Barnes, he built the West Lancashire Railway, and in 1878, the partnership being dissolved, he went to Liverpool, where he obtained the contract for the Patricroft Sewerage Works. In 1882 he came to London and joined the staff of the late Mr TA Walker, contractor, with whom he remained for 6 years, being employed during the period on the completion of the Inner Circle Railway, the Preston and Barry Docks, and the Manchester Ship Canal. Transferring his service to Messrs. S Pearson and Son, he was engaged until 1900 in preparing the estimate for the Blackwall Tunnel and on the construction of the East and West Derbyshire Railway and other works. In 1901 he commenced business as a Contractor under the style of JB Squire and Co, in which capacity he constructed the Crossness Outfall Works for the London County Council and carried out other works.
Mr Squire was a Fellow of the Geological Society, a Member of the Society of Arts, of the Institution of Mining Engineers and of the Manchester Geological Society. He died on 22 December 1907, aged 56, after 12 months' illness resulting from cerebral haemorrhage. In his leisure he cultivated literary tastes, and, under the name of 'Lincoln Barret' wrote many poems and sonnets of no little artistic merit.
Related Material See also Papers of William Arnold Barter (DM433) for two accounts belonging to Frank Merrick, 1900-1901.
Access Conditions Open to all registered researchers. The Merrick family would like to be notified via Special Collections of any performance, substantial article, or publication of works from the archive.

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