About us

Carol Hewson workshop in Trefusis
The Friends of Cecil Sharp House was formed in 1986 to 'maintain and promote Cecil Sharp House and thereby permit it to be: used in perpetuity for the purposes of English folk dance, music and song'.  Its mission includes the preservation and promotion of English folk dance and music and encouraging 'the practice of them in their traditional form by means of dances, classes, demonstrations, festivals and other like methods.'

A Brief History

CSH For SaleIn the late 1980s, Cecil Sharp House, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, was in a perilous position.  EFDSS had accrued a huge deficit and the continuation of EFDSS and folk activities at the House was threatened.  The FCSH was created to assist the EFDSS by running the House, thereby ensuring its future as a centre of the folk arts.

However, it soon became apparent that the then EFDSS National Executive Committee was determined to sell Cecil Sharp House as the solution to its deficit, so the FCSH morphed into a campaigning society dedicated to opposing the sale.  Within weeks, well over 1000 people had joined the Friends to secure the future of the House and the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

For a number of years, the Friends supplied the volunteers who managed the House under the leadership of Brenda Godrich.  Volunteers redecorated the House, helped run the shop, and took bookings.  Pat Parr kept the books; Vic Godrich maintained the membership system and made it work, until Colin Hume created a new properly computerised system.  FCSH personnel oversaw the finances and provided the house personnel for the various folk activities.  The Friends raised money for the building and the Society.  Some of the fruits of its fund-raising activities can be seen in the bar, the café and the new curtains in Kennedy Hall, to name but a few of the FCSH contributions to the fabric of the House.  It bore the full financial risk of launching initiatives including the New Year's Eve dance, May Day and the family folk dance programme, all subsequently incorporated into the EFDSS programme.  It also collected money to ensure that funds would be available to fight any further threat to close the building.  In recent years, the FCSH has focused its energies on dance to complement the management of EFDSS' concentration on re-establishing its folk music programme in Cecil Sharp House.  FCSH dances sought to showcase outstanding callers and bands to promote English social dance.  For the past couple of years, our energies have been devoted mainly to a programme of dances and workshops for experienced English Country dancers.  It has been a great pleasure to welcome people from well beyond the boundaries of Greater London back to Cecil Sharp House, and to share the continuing vitality of "Playford Past & Present."

If you would like to see us do more and fulfil more of our aims, recruit a new member and contribute just a few hours each year.



If you have comments or questions about the website, please contact the webmaster, Colin Hume: You must enable JavaScript to see this e-mail address.