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Archive -> 1905-1914


  • 1905-1914
  • 1905
    July 29: At an Espérance Club party Mary asks Herbert McIlwaine where English songs can be found for the girls to sing. He had read about Cecil Sharp’s Somerset song collecting in the Morning Post the day before and suggests she speak with him. Mary Neal goes to see Cecil Sharp meet who suggests a handful of songs. Cecil Sharp has resigned as Principal at Hampstead Conservatoire. Mary subsequently asks Sharp for dances.
    Oct 2: Mary goes to Oxford and asks William Kimber and cousin to come to London to teach.
    The success of the Espérance Xmas Party at Passmore Edwards Settlement, Mary Ward House on Dec 15 is pivotal moment in the history of the revival. "The result was startling and delightful". Guests suggest songs and dances are re-staged for public performances.

    On April 13, 'An English Pastoral' is staged as a public performance in Small Queen's Hall, in Portland Place (mentioned by Mary in Set To Music). In May Cecil Sharp recommends Mary to Vicar of Minehead and dancing girls. That year, from April-Nov girls travel to Somerset, Devon, Derby, Monmouth, Norfolk, Surrey in addition to 6 London performances.

    Emmeline Pethick Lawrence, now Treasurer of WSPU, is imprisoned in Holloway for the first time. (Between 1906-1912 she is imprisoned 6 times.)

    An extremely busy year. The dances have says Cecil Sharp 'given wings' to the songs and public interest grows. In April, Cecil Sharp hurriedly publishes The Morris Book written in conjunction with Herbert McIlwaine. It is dedicated to 'Espérance Club' and acknowledges help of Florrie Warren (for notation of dance steps) and Mary Neal (for ‘organisation reach’). Between April 22-25, the Espérance Club perform at Shakespeare League, Mansion House and at the St George's Society Festival at Small Queen's Hall. A Sussex HMI Inspector Edward Burrows sees a Stratford Performance of the Espérance Girls and on July 20 the West Sussex Gazette reports 100s teachers meeting in Chichester. The Shakespeare Festival meanwhile turns to Mary as teacher. Mary dedicates Set To Music to Sharp.

    On Sept 10 Emmeline Pankhurst tears up WSPU constitution. Mary present and appointed to New Committee, along with Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence. Fred Pethick-Lawrence publishes Votes For Women.

    On November 14 a conference at the Goupil Gallery, chaired by Lord Neville Lytton, is organised to take stock of national potential of revival. The preceding day, Punch prints an article to promote conference with a cartoon, which provokes Sharp's first pulling away from Espérance Club activities. Girls have been (says Mary at conference) to Oxford, Stratford, Ilkley, Leamington, St Fagans and elsewhere. The
    28 Nov Programme at Queens Hall can be seen here.

    Suffragette activities increase hugely. On Jan 17 Flora Drummond padlocks herself to railings of 10 Downing St and on March 19, a rally of 7,000 gathers in The Albert Hall followed by one of 30,000 in Hyde Park in June.
    Oct: Rush on Houses of Parliament. Mary earns money from writing for Votes For Women.
    On April 11, Mary writes in Saturday Review she 'has no intention of doing collecting work done so well by Cecil Sharp'.

    Cecil Sharp increased his knowledge of the Morris, and on Nov 10 writes to Lucy Broadwood disassociating himself from Association.  Herbert McIlwaine does not support suffrage movement and comes to agreement with Mary Neal to step down as Musical Director of Club. Clive Carey takes over.

    Trips to Littlehampton and the Green Lady Hostel continue. In Oct, Mary invites Lady Constance Lytton along who is persuaded to join suffrage movement after days spent there with Annie Kenney, amongst others.  This scene is featured in the BBC series made in 1974 Shoulder to Shoulder.
    H H Asquith becomes Prime Minister

    Jan: A difference of approaches starts to build into a fully-blown dispute. Mary and Cecil Sharp share a public platform in Cambridge, although the spirit of their original collaboration is breaking down.
    On Jan 14 Mary writes in the Morning Post promoting Espérance Club activites: 'Dancing and Social Reform: What London Working Girls are Doing'. Sharp feels threatened. In March she receives a letter from Sharp challenging Mary’s public statements. Rivalry ratchets up. On June 10 Sharp organises a demonstration at Chelsea Hospital before Edward VII.

    A blizzard of letters between Sharp and Mary along with articles in the national press maps their dispute.
    April 1: Sharp in Morning Post mounts attack on Mary.
    April 14: Mary in Vanity Fair refers to the 'blighting touch of the pedant'.
    May 4: Mary writes to Mrs Hudson, landlady of the Happy Dick, Abingdon, to invite Messrs Hemmings to London. Her letter here.
    May 5: Anniversary Programme. Mary in Morning Post 'I recognise no expert in Morris Dancing'.
    Oct 25: Mary challenges Sharp's 'expertise' and brings Headington men to London.
    Nov 7: Sharp is very distressed and gets William Kimber to agree 'the way I have taught you is right'.
    Nov 8: Mary attempts reconciliation with a letter to Sharp acknowledging early years of revival 'happiest years of life'.
    Involvement with the Stratford Festival becomes valued public platform.
    Dec 10: Mary and Florrie Warren sail for the US to conduct lecture demonstration tour.

    Jan: Blanche Payling goes to Thaxted, invited by Miriam and Conrad Noel, to teach children and young people from Lee’s sweetie factory.
    Mary and Florrie's visit to New York and Boston is a great success. Florrie meets her husband to be - Aurthur Brown. Once back in London, the Board of Education approves Mary's curriculum for schools and she publishes The Espérance Morris Book. The Espérance Morris Guild continues to grow.
    May: Cecil Sharp buoyed by given a civil pension £100 a year and writes to a friend 'I have got Stratford'.
    Dec. Sharp Consitutes English Folk Dance Society. Branches in Oxford, Liverpool and Cirencester.
    Constitutional crisis ended with Parliament Act, asserting supremacy of House of Commons.
    Open Door: Blanche story.

    Jan 1st Mary writes to Archibald Flowers in Stratford that he is ignoring National Movement. She has proposed a national debate.
    Feb 14th Florrie Marries Arthur Brown.
    Aug: Archibald Flowers defers Stratford debate to explore differences
    Ralph Vaughan Williams appears at a fancy dress party dressed as MN 'power before accuracy'.
    Both Mary and Sharp continue to publish.
    Mary stages Shakespeare's England at Earl's Court. She is described as 'directing the spirit of the movement'. Mary has 4000 addresses of followers.
    Sharp refers to 'enemies of the movement'.
    The Pethick Lawrences are sent to Holloway and Brixton prisons. Both go on hunger strike and are force-fed. After a visit to Canada to recuperate, they are made bankrupt for refusing to pay Court costs. Bailiffs turn up at their house in Holmwood. They are ejected by the Pankhursts from the WSPU for seeking political rather than militant tactics. Mary leaves WSPU.

    April: Whilst Sharp consolidates his position at Stratford, Clive Carey and Mary stage Mayday Revels at Globe Theatre, London. Votes for Women notes the 'grace of male dancers'.
    June: Militant suffragette action continues and Emily Wilding Davison is killed at the Epsom Derby, An article in Votes for Women reviews Espérance and 'grace of male dancers'. 'Cat and Mouse' Act passed by Asquith's government.
    Mary travels to Ireland to help familes affected by the Dublin lock-out . Build up to war.