The Blitz

Donations from around the world

Undeterred by air raids, audiences continued to pick their way to the Gallery. But inevitably numbers dropped. Every week spent in the shelter, the concert team estimated, cost around thirty-five pounds, a figure which quickly exhausted the limited fund that had been set aside to deal with such contingencies.

It seemed as if the concerts might have to close but then donations – many accompanied by letters of thanks – began to arrive from around the world.

Much of the money came from funds in Canada and the US established in Myra Hess’s name, but there were also countless donations from private individuals.

Celebrated composers such as Toscanini and Rachmaninoff gave contributions, along with hundreds of ordinary people who, although far away, had been touched by Hess's efforts. Thanks to this largely unsolicited generosity, the team were able to ride out the financial difficulties and the concerts continued their unbroken run.

Next: The music

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