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Transforming Cecil Sharp House

Cecil Sharp House building project update from Rosie Baker, Operations Director at the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS).

It’s been a month since our building work started to make Cecil Sharp House more accessible and luckily we haven’t been driven crazy yet by noise and dust. (But it’s probably no coincidence that some of our team are taking holiday at the moment!)

There are now holes in walls and a pit has been dug deep to allow for the new lift, which will be completed sometime in October. Having been ripped from the basement and ground floors, we now have an array of clay, bricks, toilets and sinks sitting in the builder’s compound on Gloucester Avenue Gate. It’s fascinating to see the skeleton of the building and how it all fits together beneath the foundations.

The lift will occupy the space which was once the ground floor gents toilets and will puncture the building on each level, above and below this space, to enable access to all floors. This means we don’t currently have accessible toilets internally, although we have hired an accessible portaloo for our disabled patrons to use. This is conveniently sited just outside the front entrance.

Architects impressions of the new foyer at Cecil Sharp House
New look foyer at Cecil Sharp House

We will have new ladies and gents accessible toilets by early August. The next phase of works we look forward to will be the redevelopment of the lobby and entrance to the House which starts in early September. We can’t wait to see this area become a lighter, brighter and more welcoming space with glazed walls recreating the look and feel of the original entrance hall in the 1930s.

From 2 to 13 September the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library (VWML) will be closed while the reception transformation takes place. Our hard working library team will still be available on the phone and via email to answer any queries you may have about our collections.

That’s all for now. We will keep you updated as the project unfolds.

Please note:

There are some disruptions to the event schedule, with limited daytime activities, but there are still plenty of evening activities to carry you through the summer season. You are advised to visit the event listings on our website or to contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to check if your event, class or course is affected.

The English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS) has been awarded a grant of £378,842 from Arts Council England, as part of their small capital grants programme, to improve access at Cecil Sharp House. This project is also supported by The Headley Trust.