About Us

100 Years

100th Birthday...
2007 saw Stainer & Bell celebrate its 100th birthday. To mark the anniversary of our first one hundred years, we have compiled a detailed and fascinating history of the company from its roots in 1907 all the way through to the present day.


The Stainer & Bell Life History

Below is a brief history of Stainer & Bell, together with details about our current areas of activity. For a more detailed account of the fascinating Stainer & Bell story, we have compiled a series of pages to mark our first 100 years.

The Birth

Founded in 1907, Stainer & Bell Ltd is a small, independent, family run business, specialising in the publication of quality music and books.

There was neither a Mr Stainer nor a Mr Bell. Tradition has it that the six original partners chose the firm's name because it had a creditworthy ring to it. However, a direct family link with the present management team can be traced back to 1912.


Composers published in the early years included Charles Villiers Stanford, Percy Buck, Harold Darke, Thomas Dunhill, Gustav Holst and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Works by all these writers are still in print, and we are especially pleased to publish many works by Ralph Vaughan Williams, including A Sea Symphony, Toward the Unknown Region, Five Mystical Songs and A London Symphony.

Adult Years/Parenthood

Later, the publishing pedigree was enhanced by the acquisition of Augener, famous for its practical editions of the classical masters; Joseph Williams, one of the oldest British publishing houses, founded in 1808; and Galliard, bringing to the parent company a fine range of cello music.


Victoria HouseCarefully nurtured over many years, the catalogue now contains some of the richest treasures from three centuries of British musical achievement, including works by Frank Bridge, Alan Bush, Geoffrey Bush, William Byrd, Frederick Delius, Edward Elgar, Herbert Howells, John Ireland, Gordon Jacob, Hubert Parry, Henry Purcell and Peter Warlock, and acclaimed tutors and textbooks by Dorothy Bradley & Raymond Tobin, Adam Carse, Neil Mackay, Stewart Macpherson and William Squire.


The four principal contemporary composers in the catalogue are, Morgan Hayes, Bayan Northcott, Rhian Samuel and Roger Steptoe. Their challenging range of songs, concertos and other instrumental pieces is complemented by exciting new educational works from the younger generation of specialist music teachers such as Peter Lawson, Patric Standford and Jeffrey Whitton.


The company has had a number of homes over the years, but in 1991 it moved to Victoria House, a spacious turn-of-the-century building in North London. Up-to-the-minute technology ensures that music in a wide variety of styles is speedily invoiced and despatched to numerous countries throughout the world.


100th Birthday...
2007 saw the company celebrating its 100th birthday. A healthy, vibrant and lively centenarian, S&B is actively involved in a diverse range of publishing activities. New hymnody, scholarly volumes, jazz publications, educational music, 'light' organ music and CD-ROMS, combine with the extensive back catalogue to make the rich musical resource that is the Stainer & Bell catalogue.

A few areas of current activity

Lyrics by contemporary hymn and song writers feature prominently within Stainer & Bell's field of activity. The company is proud to publish the writings of Sydney Carter, Alan Gaunt, Fred Pratt Green, Fred Kaan, Andrew Pratt and Brian Wren, to name but a few - together with several hymn books and publications on liturgy such as Worship Live. Big Blue Planet, and Sound Bytes are worship song books for young children which were recently published to popular acclaim.


We also produce and distribute a large computer database of hymn texts and tunes on behalf of The Pratt Green Trust called HymnQuest.


Collected Editions
Stainer & Bell has a long and distinguished association with a wide range of highly regarded scholarly publications, including the prestigious Musica Britannica series, published on behalf of the Musica Britannica Trust. Together with The Byrd Edition, English Madrigalists, Early English Church Music, Purcell Society Edition and Music for London Entertainment, Musica Britannica, which has grown to over ninety volumes since its conception in 1951, provides invaluable source material and authoritative texts for scholars world-wide.


The Small Band Jazz series has added spice to jazz teaching and playing in schools and workshops both in the British Isles and in America - founded, of course, on the solid technical grounding laid down in Creative Jazz Education by Richard Michael and Scott Stroman, and Practical Jazz by Lionel Grigson. A new series also by Richard Michael called Classroom Small Band Jazz was published in January 1997.


Much loved organ voluntaries by Caleb Simper; standard recital works by Bairstow, Cocker and Harwood, and a range of enchanting light music specially written by radio host and virtuoso Nigel Ogden, complete the wide circle of music for which Stainer & Bell is known internationally. An electronic theatre organ, once in a cinema on the Isle of Wight, welcomes guests to Victoria House.


Archive/Hire departments
Our archive collection is widely used to provide a 'made-to-order' service for items not currently in print as well as off-prints of individual titles from any of the larger volumes, while our hire library equips choirs, orchestras and recording companies with material for performance both of neglected repertoire and popular favourites like Elgar's From the Bavarian Highlands and Stanford's Songs of the Fleet.

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