The English-Speaking Union (ESU) is an international educational charity and membership organisation that brings together people of different languages and cultures in over 50 countries. Through the help of our branches and international ESUs, we run educational programmes, competitions and cultural exchanges to develop confident communicators, critical thinkers and empowered citizens.

Founded in 1918 by the writer and journalist Sir Evelyn Wrench, international friendship and understanding is at the heart of all we do at the ESU.

The English-Speaking Union

The ESU is a non-political organisation, working with people regardless of nationality and background, and from all walks of life. Our vision is to provide people in the UK and internationally with communications skills, confidence and opportunities to engage in an exchange of ideas and opinions. We believe that good communication and cultural exchange is essential to individual, community and global development and understanding.

Our aims, as laid out in our Royal Charter, are:

To promote education across the English-Speaking world and beyond, respecting the traditions and heritage of those with whom we work, whilst acknowledging the current events and issues that affect them.

To use English as a means of international communication of knowledge and understanding.

Read more about the ESU

Dartmouth House, London

Purchased by the ESU in 1926, Dartmouth House is one of the most notable properties in Mayfair. It is Grade II* listed and is scheduled as a building of national importance.

Dartmouth House plays a variety of roles for the ESU. It acts as the working offices for the staff of our charity and for meetings of our Governors, UK Branch Chairmen and International ESU Chairmen. The House also provides three impressive reception rooms - the Long Drawing Room, Small Drawing Room and the Churchill Room. We host many finals of our competitions in these rooms as well as charity receptions and functions.

In addition to this, Dartmouth House also acts as social meeting place for all ESU members, being open to members from 8.30 am to 10.00 pm Monday to Friday, with food & drink available all day. During opening hours our members have access to the Revelstoke Members’ lounge, our original Louis XIV walnut panelled bar, the Wedgwood Room restaurant and Mayfair’s hidden gem, the beautiful marble courtyard.

Finally, we also raise funds for our charitable work by renting out these impressive rooms for external functions. Dartmouth House has become a popular venue in London for weddings, conferences, photo shoots, receptions, lectures and corporate entertaining. The House can be hired exclusively or rooms can be reserved individually.

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Staff & Governors

The ESU staff work from its international headquarters at Dartmouth House, in London's Mayfair. Led by the Director-General, staff members are responsible for the management of all aspects of the ESU's activity, both as a charity and as a membership organisation.

In the UK we have over 5,500 members, organised into 35 local branches, all of whom are like-minded individuals who share the ESU's vision, values and passion. Our members support our education programmes by organising fundraising events, volunteering and through supporting local students to participate in our programmes.

As a charity, the ESU has a board of 13 governors, who act as trustees and guide the organisation, setting the strategic objectives for the executive team. Our governors are all, themselves, members of the ESU, and come from a variety of backgrounds. Each lends his or her experience to the organisation, and plays a vital role in the ESU's ongoing development.

Our Staff

Our Governors


The ESU has a small but dedicated staff working hard to deliver all of our charitable and educational ambitions.

We are currently looking to recruit a Head of Digital, who will be pivotal to the development and management of our online strategy.

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Your Time Is Valuable

The ESU has the privilege and pleasure to work with a variety of people from all walks of life. To assist in our work, you can get involved in many ways by offering your time to either our educational or organisational needs, by becoming a member, sponsor or donor, or simply by talking to a group of young people about your own life experiences.

There are roles in mentoring, judging, adjudicating, being an ambassador, alumni, donor, corporate sponsor, branch committee member or simply, and valuably, a vocal supporter. You can give as little or as much time as you have available. Every little helps.

Read about Working With Us

Reports & Information

The ESU is a registered charity incorporated by Royal Charter. Every registered charity is required to submit their annual report and accounts to the Charity Commission. This is not only a legal requirement but also an opportunity for us to showcase our achievements and successes over the last year.

Please find below all the relevant documents.

ESU Royal Charter
Rules of Dartmouth House
Annual Review 2016
Annual Accounts 2015-16