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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

North-West Regional Final of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking

ESU-Churchill Public Speaking, Northwich & Cheshire

Please join us for the North-West Regional Final of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition

  • Event: North-West Regional Final of the ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition
  • Time: 2.00pm for start at 2.30pm
  • Cost: Free (including tea, cake and biscuits)
  • Venue: The Grange School, Bradburns Lane, Hartford, Northwich, CW8 1LU
  • Booking: Not necessary, we would be delighted to see you there to support the six teams, this promises to be a very enjoyable and interesting competition.

Bristol and the legacy of the slave trade

Talk, Bristol & Somerset

A talk by Dr. Madge Dresser, Honorary Professor of Historical Studies, University of Bristol.

  • Time: 7.45pm, refreshments available from 7.15pm
  • Cost: Members entrance £2, guests and visitors £5
  • Venue: The Apostle room of Clifton Catholic Cathedral, BS8 3BX

ESU Guildford & District Spring Event with Canon Andrew White ‘The Vicar of Baghdad’

Lecture, Guildford & Surrey

A talk by Canon Andrew White, also known as the ‘Vicar of Baghdad’, about the work he has done directing extensive relief programmes and pastoral work. Canon White currently serves as Ambassador to Jerusalem Middle East Reconciliation International (Jerusalem MERIT) and continues to speak and teach in various contexts as a respected author, lecturer and academic fellow of various leading universities, an Anglican priest, and an international-renowned global peacemaker.

  • Time: 7pm
  • Venue: The Lecture Room, The Guildford Institute, Ward St, Guildford GU1 4LH
  • Ticket Price: £10
  • Booking:

Judith Roads – Quaker Family Firms in the 18th Century – who were they and why were they so successful?

Morning talk , Epping & Essex

Judith has been a Quaker for 40 years and has travelled widely amongst Quaker Communities in Britain and France.  A former University lecturer, she completed a Ph.D. on early Quaker language and she has worked as a volunteer on the Quaker archives in both London and Paris.   As the title suggests, she will tell us about the growth of many of the familiar high street names which have Quaker foundations – Friends in trade.

  • Time: Refreshments are available from 1015am and the talk will start at 10.45am
  • Cost: £4 for members and £5 for visitors (first visist free) including tea and coffee
  • Venue: The Murray Hall, 106 Borders Lane, Loughton, Essex IG10 3SB
  • Booking: For further details please contact Gill Meagher on 0208 505 9001

Peter Ashburner’s talk “Flog it!”

Lunch and Talk, Northwich & Cheshire

Lunch Meeting – Peter Ashburner’s talk is entitled “Flog it!”

  • Time: 12.00 p.m. for speaker at 12.15 p.m. and lunch at 1.15 p.m.
  • Cost: £16.00
  • Venue: Portal Premier Golf Club, Forest Road, Tarporley, CW6 0JA
  • Booking: By contact with Gwen Bentley on 01606 75261 by Saturday 30 March

My Great Pleasures

Black Tie Dinner and Talk, Devon & Exeter

British actor, Michael Wade has worked in theatre and films in the UK and overseas. He has appeared in film and television in such favourites as ‘A Man for All Seasons’, ‘A Dance with the Music of Time’ and ‘Brighton Belles'. He has worked with Antony Hopkins, Dustin Hoffman and Robert Stephens and many other world stars. He has recorded over 40 audio books reflecting his love of the English language. He will recite and read some of his favourite pieces and explain his connection with them.

  • Cost: £34.50 for members & guests £37.50
  • Venue: Exeter Golf & Country Club
  • Timing: 6.30 for 7.00
  • Contact: Tim Pink on

The restoration and preservation of historic buildings

Lunch and Talk, Devon & Exeter

Buildings Rodney Melville is an architect who specialises in the important work of conservation of historic buildings. He has consulted on some of the most significant buildings in the country including Chequers which has its origins in the 16th century and was given to the nation in 1921 as a country home for the Prime Minister of the day. Rodney will speak about the importance of maintaining such buildings and specifically about his work as Curator of Chequers and a member of the Chequers Trust.

  • Time: 12.30 for 1.00pm
  • Cost: Members £24.00 and guests £26.00
  • Venue: Exeter Golf & Country Club
  • Contact: Tim Pink on

AGM followed by ‘Women and Leadership’

AGM and Talk, Bristol & Somerset

Annual General Meeting followed by ‘Women and Leadership’ talk by Ms Jo Butler, Headteacher, Cotham School.

  • Time: 7.15pm
  • Cost: Members entrance £2; Guests and visitors £5
  • Venue: The Apostle room of Clifton Catholic Cathedral, BS8 3BX

Lunch with Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe followed by a tour of the Peace Gardens and IBCC Memorial

Lunch and Talk, Lincoln & Lincolnshire

ESU Lincolnshire is delighted to invite you to a buffet lunch with welcome drinks, and a tour of the Peace Gardens and IBCC Memorial. Our guest speaker will be Lord Bernard Hogan-Howe, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Merseyside Police Chief Constable, and Her Majesties’ Inspector of Constabularies. Lord Hogan-Howe’s talk will encompass his time as Police Commissioner, how policing has changed, and his present work with youth organisations in our deprived communities.

  • Time: 12.00pm
  • Cost: £25 per person for members, £30 for guests
  • Venue: International Bomber Command Centre, Canwick Hill, Lincoln LN4 2RF
  • Booking: Download a booking form from our welcome page above, or for further details please contact Mrs Kelly Bevers

Yulia Chaplina Piano Recital

Piano Recital by ESU Alumni Yulia Chaplina, London

Join us for an evening of Russian piano music with ESU Music Scholar, Yulia Chaplina. Yulia’s programme of Russian and British music will include Rachmaninov and Prokofiev and is dedicated to the UK & Russia Year of Music 2019.  Born in Rostov-in-Don, Yulia is now London based and holds a Masters Music degree from the Royal College of Music. She has performed extensively in Europe and Asia in recital and with orchestras.

  • Time: Wine and canapés 6:30pm, performance at 7pm
  • Cost: Members £26; guests £32
  • Venue: Dartmouth House
  • Booking: click here to book
  • Further information: Jane Reid

In Search of a Voice in a Foreign Language

Dinner and Talk, Devon & Exeter

Born in Belgrade Vesna Goldsworthy is the Professor of Creative Writing at both the Universities of Exeter and East Anglia. Vesna is a poet, novelist and a memoirist and is best known for her book ‘Chernobyl Strawberries’. Vesna will discuss her background and the subtleties of understanding and being understood , in both language and manner when adopting to a foreign country and how she now feels that England is ‘home’.

  • Time: 6.45 for 7.15pm
  • Cost: Members £27.00 and guests £30.00
  • Venue: Exeter Golf & Country Club
  • Contact: Tim Pink on

Summer Lunch at Abbeywood Estate

Summer Lunch, Northwich & Cheshire

Summer Lunch at Abbeywood Estate

  • Time: 12.30 p.m. for lunch at 1.00pm
  • Cost: £25.00
  • Venue: Abbeywood Estate & Gardens, Chester Road, Delamere, CW8 2HS
  • Booking: Contact Jennifer MacPherson on 01606 215908 by Saturday 15th June

Lincolnshire branch AGM

AGM, Lincoln & Lincolnshire

Branch members are encouraged to join us for our AGM.

  • Date: Wednesday 3rd July 2019
  • Time: 6pm
  • Location: Mansions of the Future, 15-16 St Mary’s Street, Lincoln N5 7EQ.

Bristol branch: Summer party

Bristol & Somerset

Join us and enjoy some summertime drinks in the sunshine.

  • Time: 6-8pm
  • Cost:  £5 at the door
  • Venue: 29 Mariners Drive, BS9 1QG

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