In Thursday’s (7/23) Guardian (London), Martin Wainwright writes, “Nosy visitors can sometimes be a pain to the staff of Britain’s stately homes—but Jim Pattison, a retired recording engineer and choral singing enthusiast, has turned out to be a glorious exception. Thanks to his persistence, an extraordinary stash of original performances by the likes of Enrico Caruso and Dame Nellie Melba has been rediscovered. On a visit to Brodsworth Hall, in Yorkshire, Pattison spotted a worn white label on an old 78rpm record. … The 77-year-old, who has spent a lifetime in the recording industry, saw half the white label of a Monarch recording of songs from Puccini’s La Bohème tucked into a magazine rack with 1960s LPs. … Pattison was enlisted by English Heritage to help classify the collection. He found a recording of John Philip Sousa conducting Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in 1905, just three years after its first performance, and nearly four minutes of the Ukrainian violinist Mischa Elman playing Wieniawski’s Souvenir de Moscou in 1906. Nearly 100 records were discovered in all, mostly ancient but also including tracks by Frank Sinatra and Sandie Shaw.”

Posted July 24, 2009