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19 January 2021
Hear Again Great Aunt Mary's Tune Radio 4 Extra BBC Sounds

Lucy Neal reviews the archive of Victorian reformer Mary Neal and the divisions in the English Folk Dance movement. From 2007. Available again until Feb 12th 2021

24 March 2015
Esperance Street named for the A-Z?

A crop of remarkable news! 

At a party on March 26th in King's Cross the results of a public competition will be announced to rename the streets of the recently recreated urban centre there. A competition to rename the streets received 10,000 entries. Lucy Neal sumbitted the suggestion Espérance Street in honour of the Espérance Club 1895-1914 and it has been shortlisted. Watch this space!

The Camden Journal was quoted as saying The Esperance Club was a pioneering social club established by Mary Neal and Emmeline Lawrence, two leading suffragettes.

Also, over the other side of the world, in Australia, it has been decided to create a new award, the Mary Neal Award,  that recognises the part played by women in Morris dancing. The first award will be given at the Australian National Folk Festival in April 2015, Squire Tim Beckett says: 

'Greetings colleagues: in recent years there’s been an increasing understanding in Australia of Mary Neal’s fundamental contribution to the Morris revival so that the common toast at Morris Ales in Oz is now to the glorious memory of Cecil Sharp, Mary Neal and Lionel Bacon: a trinity of respect!

Over here, Morris is generally mixed with women and men sharing squireships, fores and bag duties; many of our sides would simply not exist without the contribution of women and we would like to acknowledge this by establishing an annual award for Women in Morris, voted by all the sides. We would dearly love to name this award in honour of Mary Neal.'

In addition to the BBC's featuring of the Espérance Club in Lucy Worsley's programme Dancing Cheek to Cheek in Autumn 2015, this is wonderful news. 

13 January 2014
Country File with Mike Heaney

Jan 13th 2014

Great sequence on Thaxted in Country File, featuring Mike Heaney, Mary Neal and Cecil Sharp and the children and workers of Lee's sweetie factory... about 19.50 minutes in!

21 March 2012
April 17th Tuesday 7.30pm 2012 Mary Neal Lecture

Delighted to announce that acclaimed folk musician and composer, Alistair Anderson,  will give the Mary Neal Lecture this year. Alistair is internationally recognized as the master of the English Concertina and a fine performer on the Northumbrian Pipes. 

see here for more details and booking and come along! 

26 May 2011
Jude Kelly to Give Second Mary Neal Lecture at Cecil Sharp House, London, 26th May 2011

This year’s Mary Neal Lecture with EFDSS at Cecil Sharp House in Camden, London will be given by Jude Kelly OBE. Jude is a highly respected theatre practitioner and currently Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre and a member of the Cultural Olympiad Committee.
The Mary Neal Lecture was begun in 2009 when Lucy Neal, Mary’s great-great-niece and founder of the London International Festival of Theatre, deposited the Mary Neal Archive in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. Mary Neal was a reformer, suffragette and radical arts practitioner. A great spirit behind the early 20th century folk dance and song revival, Mary set up The Espérance Club in Somerstown teaching young working girls and children among other things folk dance.

Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY
26th May, 7.30pm
See below website for more information:


07 June 2010
150th Anniversary of Mary's birth

Saturday 5th June 2010 was the 150th Anniversary of Mary Neal's birth

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