The Royal College of Music was founded in 1882 by George Grove, who compiled the famous 'Dictionary of Music'.
Since 1894 the Royal College of Music has been housed in this Gothic palace created by Sir Arthur Blomfield. Famous ex-pupils include the English composers Benjamin Britten and Ralph Vaughan Williams.
The Museum of Musical Instruments is only open one afternoon a week in term time,but worth a visit as it has more than 600 instruments from the 15th century to the present day and from many parts of the world.
The museum shows mainly instruments of Western classical music, and some of the instruments on display were played by composers like Handel, Haydn and Holst. There is a smaller section of around 100 objects devoted to instruments from Africa and East and South Asia.
The ground floor has Western instruments where the sound is produced by the player's breath, and mainly English keyboard instruments. The instruments are arranged according to their place in the Western orchestra. In the gallery is a 'clavicytherium', produced in South Germany in around 1480, the earliest known surviving stringed keyboard instrument, early forerunner of the modern piano.
A collection of non-Western instruments and and Western stringed instruments, including a beautiful English 'division' viol, 1692, and a collection of tiny 18th century ''violins' known as pochettes.
The Royal College of Music stages chamber concerts every weekday during termtime, around 13:00, at the college and at various churches.
There are master-classes and larger evening performances.
These concerts are mostly free and open to the public.