Royal Liverpool Philharmonic proves 'oldest orchestra' claim

The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic were not misleading in its claim to be the "oldest surviving professional symphony orchestra", the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has ruled.

The RLPO, Classic FM's Orchestra in the North-West of England, produced what it said had been "previously un-catalogued and inaccessible" records that revealed the orchestra's professional beginnings following a complaint to the ASA that the orchestra could not back up its claim.

The evidence discovered in the orchestra's review of their archive included 35 letters from orchestral players in 1850, in which they agreed to accept the terms offered by RLPO for the coming season, annual accounts for the years 1853 to 1858 and committee minutes.

According to the adjudication the orchestra said that "prior to this review of their archive the conventional wisdom in classical music circles was that Manchester's Halle was the UK's oldest surviving professional symphony orchestra".

Manchester's Halle, founded in 1858, had previously claimed to be the "longest-established permanent professional" orchestra before a ruling last year forced them to drop the claim after the orchestra was unable to produce substantial evidence to support it.

A spokesman for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic said: "We were able to draw on our archive held at Liverpool Record Office to substantiate our claim thanks... to a professional archivist who fully catalogued it and made it available to the general public in 2008.

"Liverpool Philharmonic has a fantastic and illustrious history, serving the city over three centuries. 2015 marks 175 years since our founding and our ambition now is to ensure that Liverpool Philharmonic stays at the heart of the city's cultural life for another 175 years."