“The Full English is possibly the most exciting and significant thing to happen to British folk music in at least a generation… To give everyone the keys to the archive of our common heritage will be an invaluable inspiration to generations of musicians and writers."
Lee Hall, playwright and screenwriter (Billy Elliot, Pitman Painters, War Horse)
The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) and its partners present the world’s largest online collection of English folk manuscripts.
Freely explore 80,000 pages of traditional songs, dances, tunes and customs from the golden age of folk music collecting, within the manuscripts of nineteen of England’s most important late Victorian and Edwardian folk collectors, including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Percy Grainger, Lucy Broadwood and Cecil Sharp.
The Full English digital archive delivers the true ‘voice of the people’ through a variety of material ranging from full songs to fragments of melodies, invaluable for researchers, performers, composers and many more. It is rich in social, family and local history, and provides a snapshot of England’s cultural heritage through voices rarely published and heard before.
The first part of The Full English project was to make these images available, in a format that is searchable. However, as the information on these images can very hard to decipher, particularly if you are not a music reader, the second part is to improve access by providing transcriptions of texts and musical notation, as well as midi files so the tunes can be heard.
None of The Full English materials have been censored. The contents do not reflect the opinions and views held by the English Folk Dance and Song Society, or any of The Full English partner organisations.
The images of the materials in The Full English digital archive on the VWML website are licensed from the repositories which house the original collections. Permission to reproduce any of these of these images for anything other than private study must be sought in the first instance from the holding repository. Details of these repositories can be found here
Clare College, Cambridge
The British Library
The Folklore Society Library and Archive, University College London
The Grainger Museum, University of Melbourne
The Mitchell Library, Glasgow
Vaughan Williams Memorial Library
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre
Our archive partners immediately saw the value of this kind of co-operative venture and were enthusiastically supportive. Without them, The Full English project would not have got off the ground and we extend to them our heartfelt thanks.
The Baring-Gould folk song collection appears as part of The Full English thanks to Wren Music who donated the entire digitised and catalogued collection to EFDSS as part of the Devon Tradition project.