Royal Hamilton College of Music

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Royal Hamilton College of Music

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Hamilton Conservatory of Music

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



Founded in 1897 by C.L.M. Harris as the Hamilton Conservatory of Music (HCM), the conservatory provided higher education in music with focus in piano, strings, winds, organ and guitar, as well as art, physical culture, dance, musical kindergarten and elocution. The conservatory was originally located in the former home of Robert Steele, and in 1899, the conservatory moved to Main and Charles Streets. In 1904, the conservatory moved to its permanent home on James Street South with studio space on the first floor, a recital hall on the second floor, and a meeting room in the basement.

Under Harris' directorship, the conservatory was incorporated by the province of Ontario in 1902, and two years later was affiliated with the University of Toronto as a means to prepare students for the Bachelor in Music from the university. The affiliation ended in 1918, when the HCM began to offer a competing system of examinations. Harris was succeeded by J.E.P. Aldous, W.H. Hewlett, and Bruce Carey who oversaw the administrative functions of the conservatory and presented internationally known artists in the recital hall. After Carey resigned, Hewlett began the first principal of the conservatory.

On May 15, 1965, the conservatory received a royal charter and changed its name to the Royal Hamilton College of Music. During this process, the conservatory renamed its associate diploma (AHCM) in piano, violin, voice, speech arts and drama to ARHCM, and expanded to offer a licentiate diploma (LRHCM) and an honorary fellow's degree (FRHCM).

The conservatory expanded its program to include courses in Suzuki string method, jazz, theatre, and the visual arts. The conservatory also physically grew to offer five branches in the Hamilton area and maintained branches in Windsor, Leamington and Oakville, Ontario.

The college closed in 1980 due to financial problems.


Hamilton, Ontario

Legal status

Incorporated in 1904 by the province of Ontario.

Functions, occupations and activities

Music conservatory that provided higher education in music during the late 19th and 20th century.

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

Principals of the Royal Hamilton College of Music were as follows:
Cyril Hampshire (1939-1944)
Reginald Bedford (1944-1948)
Reginald Godden (1948-1953)
Lorne Betts (1953-1959)
Harold Jerome (1959-1967) - He was a staff member from 1920 to 1957, and a former pupil of Hewlett.
Gladys Whitehead (1967-1974)
Jonathan Watts (1974-1980)

General context

Relationships area

Control area

Authority record identifier


Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail

Dates of creation, revision and deletion




Helen Livingston. "Royal Hamilton College of Music". The Canadian Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 June 2018.

Maintenance notes