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Composer (1872-1958)

Ralph Vaughan Williams is arguably one of Britain’s greatest composers, with notable and powerful compositions such as Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and The Lark Ascending.

He was the son of a vicar and his mother was a niece of Charles Darwin. He had strong Surrey connections for most of his life, composing many works during his life in Dorking, including Five Tudor Portraits and Magnificat. His childhood was spent at the family home in Leith Hill Place, near Dorking, and he was also a pupil at Charterhouse, Godalming.

In 1905 he founded the annual Leith Hill Music Festival, and became its conductor for many years. The festival still continues.

Image courtesy of Surrey History Centre, image ref: PH/165/89