Lucy Etheldred Broadwood
Lucy Etheldred Broadwood.
BORN AUGUST 9TH, 1858. DIED AUGUST 22ND, 1929.
Miss Lucy Broadwood, whose death was recorded in the Annual Report, will be remembered with affection and gratitude by all lovers of folk-song, and particularly by those who belong to the Folk-Song Society. She was one of the 110 members who formed the Society when it came into existence in 1898 and a member of its first Committee. From that time until her death she was an indefatigable worker for it and identified herself with its aims and interests. She became Secretary after the death of Mrs. Kate Lee, the first Secretary, in 1904, and held the position for four years—resuming it during the war, owing to the enforced absence of Mr. Frederic Keel. Before the Society existed Miss Broadwood had entrusted a collection of twenty-five folk-songs from Sussex to Mr. Birch-Reynardson, which were duly published with his arrangements by Stanley Lucas & Co. They represented a collection originally made by her uncle, the Rev. John Broadwood, of Lyne, Horsham, who took them down from the lips of the country people. He was, if not the first, among the first, who approached the work of collecting with the scientist's attitude of fidelity to the originals. In 1893 her name became widely known through a larger collection entitled English County Songs (Novello), in which she collaborated with Mr. J. A. Fuller-Maitland, a remarkable volume, which first opened the eyes of musicians to the wealth of beautiful melody which the country people had preserved in their tenacious memories, and which, but for a few enthusiasts like Miss Broadwood and others whose names have become household words, would have perished unrecorded and unknown. In 1908 she published English Traditional Songs and Carols (Boosey). This volume contains thirty-seven songs, mostly from Surrey and Sussex, all simply arranged with conspicuous taste and skill. It ranks among the standard collections. Those who know it, along with the Preface and Notes, will understand both the quality and the spirit of Miss Broadwood's work: on the one hand her accuracy, observation and knowledge, on the other, her sympathy, tact and humour. She was human as well as learned, bestowing upon the doggerel verses, which abound in folk-song, not tolerance but affection. "Even the most grotesque," she says, "when analysed, will prove to contain dramatic and noble elements in awkward disguise."
Some amongst us recall the quiet charm and refined taste of Miss Broadwood's singing. She had a small but pleasant voice, and was distinguished among London amateurs at musical gatherings and concerts. Others will remember her as a competent pianist. Others will recall with gratitude her help in early days of struggling before success came.
Members of this Society do not need to be reminded of their debt; scarcely a number of the Journal has appeared without some valuable contribution from her hand, and many have been almost entirely her own from beginning to end. All will agree that the Society has suffered a great loss.