Scope and Content

The archive comprises bound volumes of 18th and 19th century printed sheet music and mainly 19th century published books of songs and ballads, chiefly from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. These reflect Lucy Broadwood's interest in the collection of folk songs and research into their origins. Unless otherwise indicated, publication dates given in square brackets are taken from the British Library online catalogue. Not all items have been re-examined in this revised list, and in these cases it may be possible to date the volumes more accurately.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lucy Etheldred Broadwood, youngest of the nine children of Henry Fowler and Juliana Broadwood, was born on 9 August 1858 in the family's holiday home, The Pavilion, Melrose, Scotland. Her father, Henry Fowler, was a partner in and effectively head of the family firm, John Broadwood & Sons, piano manufacturers, of Great Pulteney Street, Soho, London. Her childhood was divided between the family's country home, Lyne, Capel, Surrey, their London town house in Bryanston Square, Marylebone, and later 52 St George's Square, Pimlico. This set a pattern that continued throughout her life.

In 1899, following her mother's death, Lucy moved into 84 Carlisle Mansions, Carlisle Place, Westminster, with her niece, Barbara Craster. When Barbara moved to Wimbledon in 1920, Lucy moved to 20 Queensberry Place, Kensington; then, in 1923, to 41 Drayton Court, Chelsea. She died on 22 August 1929 at Dropmore, Canterbury, Kent, where she had gone to attend a festival.

Lucy Broadwood possessed extensive cultural interests but her main concern was for music. The composer and folk song collector, Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) described her as possessing a wide knowledge of literature and painting, and a great talent for music, as well as being an excellent pianist and most artistic singer (2297/5). Mary Venables, a friend, referred to her intellectual powers and artistic capacity as singer, pianist, writer and folk song and folklore expert, and praised 'the helping hand she was always willing to give to many young artists' (2297/6).

Lucy was actively involved in London musical life. In her diaries, she described the musical evenings which she held at home in great detail (6782/- passim). Dermod O'Brien, for example, wrote to thank her in 1901 for her hospitality and pleasant parties, 'to say nothing of the education one gets in things musical at your flat' (2185/LEB/1/88). She helped young musicians obtain engagements such as the baritone, James Campbell McInnes (1873-1945) and the composers Percy Grainger (1882-1961) and Graham Peel (1878-1937). The pianist, CA Lidgey, also in 1901, stated that 'some fifteen engagements are to be traced directly and indirectly to yourself' (-/1/58). She arranged or wrote accompaniments to songs, one of which, 'Jess Macpharlane' an old Scottish air, enjoyed much success in the early 1890s (-/1/12).

Lucy Broadwood's main claim to lasting fame is her work in developing the study of folk music. In 1915, Lucy wrote that her earliest musical memory was of sitting on her father's knee whilst he sang her the Scottish folk song, 'the wee little croodin' doo' (Journal of the Folk Song Society, no.19). Although her father did collect songs, the MSS of some of which are held by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, London, it is her uncle, the Rev John Broadwood (1798-1864), who is now regarded as the first pioneer of English folk song.

In 1847, John published 'Old English Songs', a collection of songs of Sussex and Surrey sung in the neighbourhood of Lyne that was noted for its fidelity in transcribing the songs exactly as performed (manuscript drafts and printer's proofs, 2185/197/15-18, and published version, 2185/LEB/4/8). The collection was reissued in 1889 as 'Sussex Songs' with the tunes reharmonised by HF Birch Reynardson and with additional songs collected by Lucy Broadwood (-/5/65).

Already sensitive to folk song, in the early 1890s Lucy began collecting specimens from different parts of England. In 1893, in collaboration with JA Fuller Maitland, she published a collection under the title 'English County Songs' which, according to Vaughan Williams, was the 'starting point of the modern folk song movement' (quote, 2297/5; Lucy's annotated copy of 'English County Songs', 2185/LEB/5/118; and proofs, -/4/131)

The following years saw the publication of the Rev Sabine Baring Gould's 'Songs and Ballads of the West' (1889-91) and Frank Kidson's 'Traditional Tunes' (1891). In 1898 the Folk Song Society was established to collect and publish 'Folk Songs, Ballads and Tunes' and Lucy was one of the founder members. Although it aimed 'to save something primitive and genuine from extinction', the Society was initially, in Ralph Vaughan Williams' words, of the 'dilettante and tea party order'. Lucy wrote a humorous poem describing the Society at this time, entitled 'On WBS leaving the Committee of the Folk Song Society' (2185/LEB/10/87). By 1904, the Society itself was at the point of extinction (2297/5).

On 6 February 1904, Lucy met with the composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Cecil Sharp, a London music teacher who had come to folk song through his interest in traditional English dance tunes. Her diary records that they 'discussed [the] Folk Song Society and made a scheme for reviving its dying embers' (6782/18). Sharp and Vaughan Williams were elected members and Lucy became Secretary and editor of the Society's Journal, retaining the latter post until 1926. The emphasis moved from dry academic debate to the active collection and dissemination of folk song and the Society took off.

Important issues of the Journal include a number composed entirely of examples from Lucy's own collection of songs from Sussex and Surrey (no.4, 1902); Miss Tolmie's collection of Gaelic Songs, (no 16, 1911); and a further collection of songs from Surrey and Sussex collected by Lucy, George Butterworth and Francis Jekyll (no.20, 1916). (Journal of the Folk Song Society, nos 1-11 and 14-22, 2185/[294]). Lucy also published a second collection, English Traditional Songs & Carols, in 1908 (for her annotated copies, see 2185/LEB/5/66 & 119)

It is clear from her correspondence and from the comments of Vaughan Williams that Lucy came to disapprove of Cecil Sharp: 'he puffed and boomed and shoved and ousted, and used the Press to advertise himself' (2297/9). When he founded the English Folk Dance Society in 1911 she did not give it her support. She handed over the editorship of the Journal to Frank Howes in 1926 but continued to contribute material. She remained a member of the committee and when Lord Tennyson died in 1928 she was elected president.

Mary Venables, describing aspects of Lucy's personality, commented on 'the sincere and whole hearted satisfaction' which Lucy felt at having adhered to spinsterhood in spite of 'many pressing opportunities of quitting it', and also her great ability in all writing games and in making comical drawings and delightful sketches and rhymes. But another side of her character was reflected in her interest in spiritualism and the interpretation of dreams; and in her serious verses which 'came from the depths of her nature which often appeared to be struggling against sadness and pessimism.' Moreover Mary wrote that Lucy 'dreaded the development of modern science, abominated the sound of aeroplanes and hated to look up at them' (2297/6).

Access Information

There are no access restrictions.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Adam Johnstone of the Broadwood Trust, Capel, in October 1993. In 1975 Mr Johnstone succeeded his uncle-in-law, Captain Evelyn HT Broadwood as Chairman of the family firm, John Broadwood & Sons Ltd. With his cousin, RG Verner Jeffreys, he was appointed one of the administrators of the Broadwood Trust. Mr Johnstone died in 2002.

Other Finding Aids

A detailed description of the archive is also available on the Surrey History Centre online catalogue

Related Material

For the chief collection of Lucy Broadwood's correspondence and papers, see 2185/LEB/-. For diaries of Lucy Broadwood, 1882-1929, see 6782/-; for additional books and papers relating to or created by Lucy Broadwood, 1739-1980, see 2297/- and 2185/BMB/-.

Additional manuscript material relating to Lucy Broadwood is held by the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library, library and archive of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, Cecil Sharp House, Regents Park Road, London. The collection includes songs, street cries, singing games and tunes collected by or sent to Lucy, together with related correspondence. They also hold her annotated copies of the Journal and an Edison phonograph (c.1905) believed to have been hers.

Lucy Broadwood's wax cylinder recordings of Gaelic songs are held by the British Library National Sound Archive. Recorded copies are available to researchers there or at the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.

In her will, Lucy requested that copies of all her material relating to Gaelic song should be lodged with the British Museum and the Library of Advocates, Edinburgh (now part of the National Library of Scotland). This wish does not appear to have been fulfilled.