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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…

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 '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……

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…

60th ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition Grand Final

Cambridge & Cambridgeshire

Please save the date for the 60th ESU-Churchill Public Speaking Competition Grand Final…

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 ESU Music Scholarship alumnus Alexander Ullman at Dartmouth House. Programme Liszt – Harmonies poétiques et religieuses Nos. III, VII and X Tchaikovsky/Pletnev – Nutcracker Suite Stravinsky/Agosti – Firebird Suite Drinks and nibbles from 6.30pm Recital…

Ouse Valley Branch: Lunch & Talk on 'Ethics & Empire' by Professor Nigel Biggar

Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes

Professor Niger Biggar, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, University of Oxford will deliver a talk on Ethics and Empire. From the 18th century until the years after the Second World War  Britain ruled an enormous  empire. Attitudes to this have changed over the last 100 years, moving from popular…

Ouse Valley Branch: Lunch & Talk 'The truth about Education'

Bedfordshire & Milton Keynes

Professor Alan Smithers, Director of the Centre for Education and Employment Research, University of Buckingham Alan Smithers is a highly regarded national figure who is frequently consulted for his views on a wide range of current issues.  He will talk about the present day state of England’s education, how it…

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…

Epping Branch: A Talk by Nick Dobson entitled “An Underground Guide to Historical London”

Epping & Essex

Nick Dobson is new to us as a speaker but he has many strings to his bow – he will take us on a virtual tour of London by tube, stopping off to look at places of historical interest on the route. Refreshments are available from 10.15am and the talk…

Mid-Cheshire Branch: Lunch & Talk, 'It's about time'


Ian Morison is Emeritus Gresham Professor of astronomy, the oldest chair of astronomy in the world dating from 1597 and once helped by Sir Christopher Wren. He studied physics, maths and astronomy at Oxford university and became a research student at Jodrell  Bank Observatory in 1965 before he joined the…

Mid-Cheshire Branch: Lunch & Talk, 'On the road with the BBC'


After postgraduate training as a teacher of languages, John Miller made an early move sideways to join BBC staff where he remained for nearly 30 years. Most of that time was spent in television production. He began his BBC career in Sound radio operations  in London, soon moving north to…

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


Richard McCaulay 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 buy new planting and creating a variety of habitats for woodland creatures and new trails to explore.

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.

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