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The Full English free archive open day in Wiltshire

Expert speakers, view original collections and learn how to access the world’s biggest digital archive of folk song, tune, dance and custom manuscripts.


Celebrate The Full English and discover the history behind The Full English digital archive and the collections within at a free open day at archives in Chippenham next month.


The Full English Archive Day

Saturday 17 May 2014, 2 - 4.30pm
Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre, Cocklebury Road, Chippenham, SN15 3QN

The Full English archive open day at the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre will give a rare opportunity to access some of the Alfred Williams collection that are held at the centre. There will be illustrated talks about folk music collecting, as well as The Full English project and its development, by author and folklorist Steve Roud and English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) Library Director Malcolm Taylor OBE.



Talks, demonstrations and manuscript displays

  • Explore original manuscripts from Swindon-born Alfred Williams’ (1877-1930) collection
  • Experience the Sing It Out Choir perform
  • Hear about the life and work of Alfred Williams from Chris Wildridge
  • Malcolm Taylor OBE (Library Director, Vaughan Williams Memorial Library) introduces The Full English – the largest digital archive of folk manuscripts in the world
  • Learn about the early folk music revival and Alfred Williams’ place within it from Steve Roud (folklore expert, lecturer and editor)
  • Step-by-step sessions showing how The Full English digital archive works and can be used

Steve, Malcolm and Chris will be around to answer questions in between times. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available to visitors!


This event is free

Reserve your place in advance on Eventbrite
More info

Visitor at recent open archive day in Cambridge

After a career in libraries, mostly in Wiltshire, dancing with Bathampton Morris Men for 35 years and singing traditional songs, Chris Wildridge transcribed all the songs in the Alfred Williams archive and local newspapers. These were published on Wiltshire Council's Community History website in 2008.

Michael Marshman, County Local Studies Librarian, said:

“Wiltshire & Swindon Archives is very pleased that the Alfred Williams Collection has been included in the Full English digitisation project as it greatly complements the voluntary work already carried out by Chris Wildridge in providing transcriptions of the songs and other material for our Wiltshire Community History web site.

“Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre is a one stop shop for information on the historic county with archives, library, photograph collections, building records, archaeologists, museum officers, and conservation laboratories.”


Malcolm Taylor, EFDSS Library Director, said:

“Alfred Williams was unique amongst the Victorian and Edwardian folk song collectors. His social background, terms of reference and focus were different and his wonderful manuscript collection shows this.

“All of his collected folk songs are now online for all to see as part of The Full English project, but there is nothing quite like seeing the actual documents themselves and hear about why they are so important.”


The Full English project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and developed by EFDSS, has involved the collaboration of seven major archives from Britain and Australia in presenting freely to the public the most significant manuscript collections of folk music, song and dance amassed in England during the folk revival of the early twentieth century. In all, 19 collections are freely available to browse and search online.