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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

London Branch: Alexander Ullman Piano Concert at Dartmouth House


The English-Speaking Union London Region Branch welcomes you to an intimate evening piano recital with the winner of the 2017 International Franz Liszt Piano Competition, Alexander Ullman. Programme Liszt – Harmonies poétiques et religieuses Nos. III, VII and X Tchaikovsky/Pletnev – Nutcracker Suite Stravinsky/Agosti – Firebird Suite Drinks from 6.30pm…

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…

Bristol branch: The History of the Victoria Cross

Bristol & Somerset

The History of the Victoria Cross – Harold Ackroyd and other VC heroes Speaker Christopher Ackroyd…

Ouse Valley Branch: Lunch & Talk 'An unscripted life'

Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes

Talk by Jill Edwards, Member, English-Speaking Union. Jill is going to talk about people she has met and events that have occurred in her lifetime. Educated at Roedean School and the Royal  Central School of Speech and Drama, she was a contemporary of Dame Judi Dench and Vanessa Redgrave. She…

West Sussex Branch: Thanksgiving Lunch

Chichester & West Sussex

West Sussex Branch invite you to their Thanksgiving Lunch, please arrive from 12.30pm for a 1.00pm start.

Oxfordshire Branch: Thanksgiving Lunch at Weston Manor, speaker Lord Wasserman

Oxford & Oxfordshire

Thanksgiving Lunch at Weston Manor, speaker Lord Wasserman, former Rhodes Scholar. Lord Gordon Wasserman, born in Montreal, Canada, he was educated at McGill University and New College, Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. After a varied and distinguished career in the Home Office, including 12 years with responsibility for scientific and…

Dartmouth House: Thanksgiving Dinner


We are delighted that Dorothy Byrne, Head of News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 Television, giver of the MacTaggart Lecture 2019 and a former winner of our Schools’ Mace debating competition, will be our guest speaker at this year’s English-Speaking Union Thanksgiving Dinner. We very…

Salisbury & Wiltshire Branch: A Christmas Lunch with a Raffle to raise funds for the Kings School, Tamil Nadu, India

Salisbury & Wiltshire

A Christmas Lunch with a Raffle to raise funds for the Kings School, Tamil Nadu, India.  Kings School, a boarding and day school for boys and girls, was opened in 2005.  It is an English-medium school built to the highest international standards and our sponsorship of the School, together…

South Wales Branch: Festive Supper

South Wales

A Celebration of Christmas at Howell’s School, Llandaff with the Senior Girls’ Choir and Festive Supper.

Mid-Cheshire Branch: Christmas Lunch & Talk, 'Ways for wildlife'


Richard Macaulay is a member of the Sandbach Woodland and Wildlife group of volunteers who, over the past seven years, have regenerated the woodland area in Sandbach, increasing biodiversity by new planting and creating a variety of habitats for woodland creatures and new trails to explore.

Ouse Valley Branch: Lunch & talk 'all wrapped up: a Christmas confection'

Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes

ALL WRAPPED UP: A CHRISTMAS CONFECTION Caroline Bacon, Former Curator of Cecil Higgins, and Manager of Rothsay Education Centre Taking Christmas, Winter and the Nativity as our theme, we will look at a number of artists from Breughel to Damien Hirst and their response to Christmas (or winter) through a…

English Speaking Union AGM


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

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…

Norwich & Norfolk Branch: Christmas Lunch

Norwich & Norfolk

Mid-Cheshire Branch: Lunch & Talk on The Vine Project


The vine project aims to enable vulnerable children and young people in choir Zulu Natal, South Africa to get the best education possible. Kate Stross was inspired to become a supporter of the project in late 2011 and has since visited South Africa regularly.

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.

Bristol branch: The Rise of China as a challenge to liberal teleology

Bristol & Somerset

The Rise of China as a challenge to liberal teleology: can China be both rich and communist? Speaker Professor Yongjin Zhang, University of Bristol…

Norwich & Norfolk Branch: Lunch & Talk 'Norwich Architecture 1938 to present'

Norwich & Norfolk

Lunch followed by a talk by Rod Spokes on Norwich Architecture 1938 to present.

Bristol branch: New Year’s Party

Bristol & Somerset

New Year’s Party Join us for a glass of wine to celebrate the new year!…


Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes

THE RT HON BARONESS D’SOUZA, Former Lord Speaker of the House of Lords Our speaker has had a distinguished career in science – anthropology, brain chemistry and human nutrition. She has, in addition, a wide range of other interests – human rights, development, gender equality. She was created a Life…

ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition, Bristol Final

Bristol & Somerset

ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition, Bristol Final…

Mid-Cheshire Branch: Lunch & Talk, Research work in the Arctic


Professor Terry Callahan will be giving a talk on his Research work in the Arctic Terry Callahan started  as an Arctic plant ecologist in 1967. Over 52 years, he has worked in every Arctic country and has been in the field during each of 50 years. His main current focus…

Bristol branch: The past, present and future of Bristol’s Museum Service

Bristol & Somerset

The past, present and future of Bristol’s Museum Service Speaker Ray Barnett, Head of Collections and Archives, Bristol…

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…

Ouse Valley Branch: Lunch & Talk 'CONTEMPORARY AMERICA'

Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes

PROFESSOR GARY GERSTLE, Professor of American History and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge Gary Gerstle lives in Cambridge, England, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. He is primarily an historian of 20th century America with particular expertise in immigration and race issues. He has lectured worldwide, and is frequently consulted…

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