Bate Collection of Musical Instruments
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
The Bate is the largest and most complete collection of early musical woodwinds, brass, and percussion instruments in Europe. The core of the collection was donated to the Faculty of Music by Philip Bate, beginning in 1963. The original collection consisted mostly of woodwinds, but to this have been added sizeable collections of recorders, brass, woodwind, keyboards, tools, equipment for making bows, books, and audio recordings donated by a large number of public and private donors.
More than 1000 instruments are on display, focussed primarily on French, German, and English makers, from the Renaissance to the modern era. There are spinnets, clavichords, virginals, and harpsichords, a harmonium, and a glassichord (a series of glass bars struck by cloth-covered hammers). The name is said to have been invented by Benjamin Franklin. There is a violin crafted in 1746 by Henry Jay of London, and horns dating to around 1700. In short, there is a little bit of everything!
I've had the pleasure of exploring 'The Bate', and believe me, 'explore' is the right word. For entering the Bate Collection is like being ushered into an Aladdin's cave of musical wonders. It is the sort of place you'll want to take your time, and poke your nose into every corner.
Play it Again!
What truly makes The Bate so enjoyable is that you can handle and play most of the instruments. Philip Bate made this a requirement of his donations; he wanted students to be able to handle, play, and enjoy these historic instruments, not have them stuck away behind a display case.
About Bate Collection of Musical Instruments
Address: Oxford University Faculty of Music, St. Aldate's, Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, OX1 1DB
Attraction Type: Museum
Location: near the Cathedral on A420
Website: Bate Collection of Musical Instruments
Phone: 01865 276139
Fax: 01865 276127
OS: SP515 058
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
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Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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