This record is held by Surrey History Centre

Details of 2185/LEB
Reference: 2185/LEB

The records include a large collection of letters written to Lucy, by many of the leading figures in London musical life and in the folk song movement. They chiefly relate to her musical interests.


There is also correspondence and material relating to the history of the Broadwood and Tschudi families. Although many personal letters from relatives and family friends are preserved, there are very few letters from Lucy's immediate family and none relating directly to the family firm.


The remainder of the collection includes manuscript and printed music, mostly related to Lucy's interest in folk and popular music; and an autograph manuscript of Holst's Quintet in A flat for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn and bassoon (2185/LEB/5/1). There are also a number of photographs; and poems and sketches, both comic and serious, composed by Lucy and her relatives.

Date: (16th CENT)-1931

Lucy Broadwood's papers, unlike her sister Bertha's, were mostly found in a single first floor room at Lyne. She had bundled many of the letters together and kept them in a number of small boxes. This arrangement has been retained and the title of each bundle is quoted at the appropriate place in the present list. Although the letters were bundled on a rough subject basis, letters related by writer or subject may be found in different bundles. Some were retained specifically as a collection of autograph letters. AJ Hipkins, the doyen of Broadwood & Sons, and writer on early musical instruments, sent Lucy a few such distinguished letters of his own to add to the collection (2185/LEB/1/214-225).

Related material:

For diaries of Lucy Broadwood, 1882-1929, see 6782/-; for additional papers relating to or created by Lucy Broadwood, 1739-1980, see 2297/-, 2185/BMB/- and 6192/-.


Additional manuscript material relating to Lucy Broadwood is held by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, library and archive of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Cecil Sharp House, Regents Park Road, London. The collection includes songs, street cries, singing games and tunes collected by or sent to Lucy, together with related correspondence. They also hold her annotated copies of the Journal and an Edison phonograph (c.1905) believed to have been hers.


Lucy Broadwood's wax cylinder recordings of Gaelic songs are held by the British Library National Sound Archive. Recorded copies are available to researchers there or at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.


In her will, Lucy requested that copies of all her material relating to Gaelic song should be lodged with the British Museum and the Library of Advocates, Edinburgh (now part of the National Library of Scotland). This wish does not appear to have been fulfilled.

Held by: Surrey History Centre, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Broadwood, Lucy Etheldred, 1858-1929, folk song collector

Physical description: 12 Series
Access conditions:

There are no restrictions on access.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Deposited by the Broadwood Trust in 1977 with other records relating to the family and to the piano manufacturing firm of John Broadwood & Sons.

Publication note:

By Lucy Broadwood:


On the Collecting of English Folk Song, lecture delivered by Lucy Broadwood, 14 March 1905 (2185/BMB/9/50);


English County Songs, eds. Lucy Broadwood and JA Fuller Maitland (London, 1893);


English Traditional Songs & Carols, ed. Lucy Broadwood (London, 1908);


Leaves from the Family Tree, poems by Broadwood family members (St Martins Press, Market Weighton, Yorks, [1920])


About Lucy Broadwood:


'The Transformed Village: Lucy Broadwood and Folksong', Dr Dorothy de Val, in Music and British Culture, 1785-1914: Essays in Honour of Cyril Ehrlich, eds Christina Bashford and Leanne Langley, (Oxford, 2000);


'Lucy Broadwood, 1858-1929', Ralph Vaughan Williams, in Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, vol.V, no.3, Dec 1948 (2297/5);


'Lucy Etheldred Broadwood' by Mary Venables (unpublished, Feb 1930) (2297/6);


Broadwood by Appointment, David Wainwright (London, 1982);


RVW: a Biography of Ralph Vaughan Williams, Ursula Vaughan Williams (Oxford, 1964)




Introduction to English Folk Song, Maud Karpeles (Oxford, 1973)


Journal of the Folk Song Society, 1898-1923


Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, 1923 to present Folk music in Britain and beyond, Frank Howes (London, 1969)


Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford)


Grove's Dictionary of Music & Musicians (London)


Who Was Who and Debrett's peerage, baronetage & knightage

  • Traditional music
Unpublished finding aids:

A biographical index of Lucy Broadwood's Correspondents and other key figures is available at Survey History Centre

Administrative / biographical background:

Lucy Etheldred Broadwood, youngest of the nine children of Henry Fowler and Juliana Broadwood, was born on 9 August 1858 in the family's holiday home, The Pavilion, Melrose, Scotland. Her childhood was divided between the family's country home, Lyne, Capel, and their London town house in Bryanston Square, Marylebone, and later 52 St George's Square, Pimlico. This set a pattern that continued throughout her life. In 1899, following her mother's death, Lucy moved into 84 Carlisle Mansions, Carlisle Place, Westminster, with her niece, Barbara Craster. When Barbara moved to Wimbledon in 1920, Lucy moved to 20 Queensberry Place, Kensington; then, in 1923, to 41 Drayton Court, Chelsea. She died on 22 August 1929 at Dropmore, Canterbury, Kent, where she had gone to attend a festival.


Lucy Broadwood possessed extensive cultural interests but her main concern was for music. The composer and folk song collector, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) described her as possessing a wide knowledge of literature and painting, and a great talent for music, as well as being an excellent pianist and most artistic singer (2297/5). Mary Venables, a friend, referred to her intellectual powers and artistic capacity as singer, pianist, writer and folk song and folklore expert, and praised 'the helping hand she was always willing to give to many young artists' (2297/6).


Lucy was actively involved in London musical life. In her diaries, she described the musical evenings which she held at home in great detail (6782/- passim). Dermod O'Brien, for example, wrote to thank her in 1901 for her hospitality and pleasant parties, 'to say nothing of the education one gets in things musical at your flat' (2185/LEB/1/88). She helped young musicians obtain engagements such as the baritone, James Campbell McInnes (1873-1945) and the composers Percy Grainger (1882-1961) and Graham Peel (1878-1937). The pianist, CA Lidgey, also in 1901, stated that 'some fifteen engagements are to be traced directly and indirectly to yourself' (-/1/58). She arranged or wrote accompaniments to songs, one of which, 'Jess Macpharlane' an old Scottish air, enjoyed much success in the early 1890s (-/1/12).


Lucy Broadwood's main claim to lasting fame is her work in developing the study of folk music. In 1915, Lucy wrote that her earliest musical memory was of sitting on her father's knee whilst he sang her the Scottish folk song, 'the wee little croodin' doo' (Journal of the Folk Song Society, no.19). Although her father did collect songs, the MSS of some of which are held by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, London, it is her uncle, the Rev John Broadwood (1798-1864), who is now regarded as the first pioneer of English folk song.


In 1847, John published Old English Songs, a collection of songs of Sussex and Surrey sung in the neighbourhood of Lyne that was noted for its fidelity in transcribing the songs exactly as performed (Proofs and MS score, 2185/[82]; published version, 2185/LEB/4/8). The collection was reissued in 1889 as Sussex Songs with the tunes reharmonised by HF Birch Reynardson and with additional songs collected by Lucy Broadwood (-/5/65).


Already sensitive to folk song, in the early 1890s Lucy began collecting specimens from different parts of England. In 1893, in collaboration with JA Fuller Maitland, she published a collection under the title English County Songs which, according to Vaughan Williams, was the 'starting point of the modern folk song movement' (quote, 2297/5; Lucy's annotated copy of English County Songs, 2185/LEB/5/118; and proofs, -/4/131)


The following years saw the publication of the Rev Sabine Baring Gould's Songs and Ballads of the West (1889-91) and Frank Kidson's Traditional Tunes (1891). In 1898 the Folk Song Society was established to collect and publish 'Folk Songs, Ballads and Tunes' and Lucy was one of the founder members. Although it aimed 'to save something primitive and genuine from extinction', the Society was initially, in Ralph Vaughan Williams' words, of the 'dilettante and tea party order'. Lucy wrote a humorous poem describing the Society at this time, entitled 'On WBS leaving the Committee of the Folk Song Society' (2185/LEB/10/87). By 1904, the Society itself was at the point of extinction (2297/5).


On 6 February 1904, Lucy met with the composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Cecil Sharp, a London music teacher who had come to folk song through his interest in traditional English dance tunes. Her diary records that they 'discussed [the] Folk Song Society and made a scheme for reviving its dying embers' (6782/18). Sharp and Vaughan Williams were elected members and Lucy became Secretary and editor of the Society's Journal, retaining the latter post until 1926. The emphasis moved from dry academic debate to the active collection and dissemination of folk song and the Society took off.


Important issues of the Journal include a number composed entirely of examples from Lucy's own collection of songs from Sussex and Surrey (no.4, 1902); Miss Tolmie's collection of Gaelic Songs, (no 16, 1911); and a further collection of songs from Surrey and Sussex collected by Lucy, George Butterworth and Frances Jekyll (no.20, 1916). (Journal of the Folk Song Society, nos 1-11 and 14-22, 2185/[294]). Lucy also published a second collection, English Traditional Songs & Carols, in 1908 (for her annotated copies, see 2185/LEB/5/66 & 119)


It is clear from her correspondence and from the comments of Vaughan Williams that Lucy came to disapprove of Cecil Sharp: 'he puffed and boomed and shoved and ousted, and used the Press to advertise himself' (2297/9). When he founded the English Folk Dance Society in 1911 she did not give it her support.


She handed over the editorship of the Journal to Frank Howes in 1926 but continued to contribute material. She remained a member of the committee and when Lord Tennyson died in 1928 she was elected president.


Mary Venables, describing aspects of Lucy's personality, commented on 'the sincere and whole hearted satisfaction' which Lucy felt at having adhered to spinsterhood in spite of 'many pressing opportunities of quitting it', and also her great ability in all writing games and in making comical drawings and delightful sketches and rhymes. But another side of her character was reflected in her interest in spiritualism and the interpretation of dreams; and in her serious verses which 'came from the depths of her nature which often appeared to be struggling against sadness and pessimism.' Moreover Mary wrote that Lucy 'dreaded the development of modern science, abominated the sound of aeroplanes and hated to look up at them' (2297/6).

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