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Home > ESU branches in England and Wales

Find out more about how you can support the development of oracy in your local area

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The English-Speaking Union was founded as a membership organisation, bringing together those who share a belief that better communication makes for better global understanding. Today, we have over 5,000 members in 36 regional branches across England and Wales who meet to socialise, gain new perspectives on the world and to help organise and raise funds for our educational work.

We are hugely grateful to our branches, which are central to the running of our Public Speaking and Performing Shakespeare competitions. Some also run their own, complementary, oracy programmes and many choose to sponsor local schools to take part in our Discover Debating programme or Discover Your Voice workshops.

To find out more about your local branch, please select the city/region nearest to you from the filter above.

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Branch events across the country

Dartmouth House: Thanksgiving Dinner


Please save the date for our Annual Thanksgiving dinner at Dartmouth House…

Buckinghamshire Branch: Suffragettes and the Hughenden Vote


The ESU Buckinghamshire Branch invites you join them for a fascinating talk by Edward Thonne on the Suffragettes and the Hughenden Vote. 7.00pm Wednesday 2nd October Church House Hughenden Manor Event is Free with contribution for refreshments. For Bookings – contact Simon Kearey 07956 183262…

Worcestershire Branch: George Blake – the Ideological Spy

Worcester & Worcestershire

This talk describes the life of George Blake, possibly the Soviet Union’s most dangerous spy. Blake went from being a religious zealot to Communist adherent in a few years, affected, he said, by the American influence and bombings in Korea, and his disappointment in the church. He revealed a great deal of secret information including the UK/US tunnel under Berlin. After capture and an horrendous 42 year sentence, he escaped from prison and now lives in Moscow.

South Wales Branch: Summer Garden Party

South Wales

Join the South Wales branch for ‘canapés, capers and camaraderie’ in the stunning setting of Fonmon Castle. Members only event, to make a booking please email…

Lincoln Branch: Ceramics Exhibition

Lincoln & Lincolnshire

The Lincoln branch invites all ESU members to tour the garden sculptures and stableyard galleries. To book please email:…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Dinner & Talk 'Celestial Images: Saints and Sinners’ by Professor Michael Mendillo

Devon & Exeter

Devon & Exeter branch invite you to a dinner & talk on the subject of ‘Celestial Images: Saints and Sinners, Intersections of Astronomy, Art and Religion’ by Professor Michael Mendillo from Boston University, Massachusetts. Celestial imagery of constellations spans human history, from cave art to modern…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Dinner & Talk by Vic Marks 'The Broadcasting Phenomena that is Test Match Special'

Devon & Exeter

What is it about a radio programme that is about cricket but which  appeals as much to those who have no interest or knowledge of the game as its aficionados? As one critic said ‘If you want the best of the English and the best English, there is…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Lunch & Talk 'The Life, Times and Legacy of Nancy, Lady Astor'

Devon & Exeter

In 1919 Lady Nancy Astor was the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons. She was MP for Plymouth until 1945. Born in the US in 1879, in 1906 she married Lord (Waldorf) Astor, the  owner of Clivedon. In parliament she supported social issues…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Black Tie Dinner, 'Moguls, Mayhem and Movies”, illustrated story of early Hollywood'

Devon & Exeter

Martin Fisher has had a lifelong interest in cinema since his grandfather took him to see ‘Pinocchio’. The title of his talk speaks for itself and will include many film extracts from those early days of cinema. Born in Windsor, Martin was educated at…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Lunch & Talk on Music of the Holocaust by Professor Shirli Gilbert

Devon & Exeter

An extraordinary range of musical activities, both forced and voluntary, took place in the Nazi ghettos and camps, from the earliest internment centres established in 1933 until the liberation in 1945. The musical works these prisoners created are extraordinary documents from the time: fragments recovered from the rubble of war and genocide; monuments to the lives that were destroyed. In this talk, which will feature many film extracts, Shirli Gilbert, professor of Modern History at Southampton University with a specialism in Jewish History and particularly the Holocaust, will highlight original music from this period, including some rare post-war recordings. The songs offer rich insight into victims’ experiences, conveying the uncertain and shifting perspectives of prisoner communities as they made sense of lived reality.

Devon & Exeter Branch: Lunch & Talk, 'Churchill’s Great Game', rethinking the origins of the Cold War

Devon & Exeter

Join Devon & Exeter Branch for lunch followed by a fascinating talk by Professor Richard Toye “Churchill’s Great Game”, rethinking the origins of the Cold War Richard Toye is Professor of Modern History at the University of Exeter. He is…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Lunch & Talk 'Principles, Pragmatism and Politics...'

Devon & Exeter

Join Devon & Exeter Branch for a lunch followed by a talk on “Principles, Pragmatism and Politics – the making of public policy in the UK – and why it affects us all” by Professor Tony Stoller CBE.

Devon & Exeter Branch: Annual Black Tie Dinner

Devon & Exeter

Devon & Exeter Branch’s annual Black Tie Dinner with a talk autobiographical talk from Billy “Scratch” Hitchen. At the end of the Easter holidays in 1963, Billy ‘Scratch’  Hitchen, instead of returning to school in Salcombe, having already been expelled by his mother, who…

Devon & Exeter Branch: Lunch & Talk by Fran Unsworth “The Public Service Role of the BBC..."

Devon & Exeter

Join Devon & Exter Branch for Lunch followed by an informative talk on “The Public Service Role of the BBC in the Gathering and Broadcasting of News and Current Affairs” by Fran Unsworth. Francesca Mary (“Fran”) Unsworth is a journalist and media executive. Fran began…

Brighton Branch: Talk 'Walter Gibraltar: From Sussex to the Bishop’s Palace, Malta'

Brighton and Hove & East Sussex

Walter Trower (1804 – 1877) married Elizabeth Goring of Winston House in Sussex and became Bishop of Gibraltar. From his base in Malta he travelled to Greece, Turkey, Italy, France and Spain. The British Empire was approaching its apogee and the international situation was tense, so politics and concerns about…

Brighton Branch: Talk 'Libya. A love lived, a life betrayed'

Brighton and Hove & East Sussex

The talk follows the trajectory of Susan M. Sandover, who was lucky enough to have chosen an enlightened, forward-thinking Libyan career diplomat, Bashir, to spend her life with. They supported each other through the traumas, difficulties, and terrifying experiences associated with the Gaddafi regime of US and NATO bombings, coups,…

English Speaking Union AGM


Please save date date for the English-Speaking Union’s AGM, details coming soon……

Eastbourne Branch: Lunch & talk by Stephen Lloyd on 'My life as an MP'

Eastbourne & East Sussex

Join Eastbourne Branch for a lunch & talk by Stephen Lloyd MP For further details please call Sarah Carr on 01323 506308    …

Devon & Exeter Branch: Judges' Training Day

Devon & Exeter

The Devon & Exeter Branch of the ESU will be hosting a Judges’ Training Day on 3rd September, conducted by Roger Tilbury. This promises to be an interesting and stimulating occasion and an opportunity to update and enhance our own skills as we judge those of the young students. A…

English Speaking Union: Churchill Public Speaking Final

Cambridge & Cambridgeshire

Please save the date for the ESU Churchill Public Speaking Final – more details soon…

Liverpool Branch: Lunch and Talk ‘Liverpool and the Battle of the Atlantic’

Liverpool & Merseyside

To celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Battle of the Atlantic David Hearn will talk about Liverpool’s strategic role in this crucial battle of World War Two. Ticket price includes a two course lunch at the Athenaeum For further details please contact Sue Davies at…

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