A Cheeky Lad

Neville Marriner was born in Lincoln on 15th April 1924. There was always music in the house, since his father Herbert, a carpenter by trade, was a keen amateur pianist and conductor, while his mother Ethel had a fine singing voice. Beginning to study the violin aged six, Neville entered Lincoln School on a scholarship aged ten. Evidence of the schoolboy’s reluctance to kow-tow to authority can still be viewed in the archives of what is now Lincoln Christ’s Hospital School; he was reprimanded for being cheeky to a prefect on several occasions. Young Neville’s early achievements as a musician often occurred away from school; winning the top prize at Lincoln Musical Festival aged 12 was one highlight.

Traditional-style blue-and-white plaque on Neville Marriner’s childhood home in Lincoln, including advice to all musicians: ‘Follow The Beat’.
Blue plaque on Marriner’s childhood home in St Andrew’s Drive, Lincoln

A festival judge with contacts at the Royal College of Music drew this talented boy to the attention of the College’s director, Sir Hugh Allen; Neville was still only 16 when he gained a Morley Scholarship to the RCM and went to London in September 1940. His scholarship was renewed for a second and third year, but he could not then avoid being called up to serve his country in the army.

The Marriner family often enjoyed a summer holiday at Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast; here is 10-year-old Neville between his parents, Herbert and Ethel.
Neville aged 10 at Mablethorpe with parents Herbert and Ethel – summer 1934