The Bate Collection is the most comprehensive collection of European woodwind, brass and percussion instruments in Britain. The Bate has over 2000 instruments from the Western orchestral music traditions from the Renaissance, through the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and up to modern times. More than a thousand instruments are on display, by the most important English, French and German makers and from pre- eminent collectors.
The Collection takes its name from Philip Bate who gave his extensive collection of European woodwind musical instruments to the University of Oxford in 1968. As the result of the original condition of gift, that students should have access to and be able to play these instruments, the Bate is unique in that many of the instruments are used.
Since the 1960s, the Collection has grown, in large due to the dedication and support of both individuals and groups such as the Friends of the Bate Collection who have made several gifts. The collection now houses the Reginald Morley-Pegge collection of horns, brass and woodwind instruments; the Edgar Hunt Collection of Recorders; the Taphouse keyboard loans and the Retford Memorial Collection of Bows along with other important collections.
The collection exists as a primary research facility for students of the Faculty and visiting researchers. Many of the instruments are maintained in playing condition and are regularly used for performances and recitals. As part of this we run an annual recording competition for undergraduate students; the Bate Recording Prize.