Help: Folklore Academy, Douglas

I have recently come across a number of references to the “Folklore Academy”, based in Douglas, Isle of Man during the 1950s? (e.g. I’d never heard of the authors Stanley or ‘Muzza’ Coleman? Does anyone know anything about it or them? Thanks.


4 thoughts on “Help: Folklore Academy, Douglas

  1. Funnily enough, someone emailed me a few weeks ago on the very same topic and so I will dig out what I know about him and his activities. The MNHL has boxes stuffed with his output, all run out on a duplicator. He produced series after series on various folklore topics with numerous titles within. Myself and Peter Millington attempted to produce a bibliography but were defeated by the sheer number of titles. It ended up that he put so much material none if any of which is of any real interest that producing a bibliography was really in the end a footnote to a footnote.

  2. Manx National Heritage Library has 2 boxes of Stanley Jackson Coleman Folklore Publications (1946-1962) – Shelf Mark: 398f. He was born in Reading, 1887 and died in Douglas, IoM, 1962

  3. Thanks Stephen/Paul… The obituary to S Jackson Coleman in Folklore provides some information on Jackson:-

    “The society has heard, with regret, of the death last year of S. Jackson Coleman. His London Folklore Club, and later, after his removal to the Isle of Man, his Folklore Academy, of which he was founder, principal and editor, did much to interest ordinary people in folklore and traditional crafts.” (1963, Folklore 74: 4, pp.570).

    While a note in the Esperanto Association of Britain Update provides a little more information about Coleman and his wife. It reports:

    “When Mr Jackson Coleman, a London barrister, was married to Frau Muzza Schonau, an Austrian, at St George’s Church, Bloomsbury, about two years ago [1926], the service was conducted in Esperanto” (January 2007: 10)

    Some internet research suggests that they came to the Isle of Man as a consequence of Muzza internment on the island during the Second World War; a consequence of her Austian heritage. It has been mooted that her Stanley joined her in the island after the war as they seemingly liked the island so much. But it may be equally likely that they came to the Isle of Man as a consequence of Cecil Williamson’s ‘Centre for Folklore’ (later converted to the Museum of Witchcraft by Gerald Gardner) in Castletown. The centre was intended to act as a hub for folklorists throughout the country, although how successful its intention was remains to be thoroughly understood, but the fact that they were active at same time and within a small community must be significant. Of course this must remain supposition until definitive proof can be gathered from further research, but in order to generate the volume of content required both Stanley and Muzza must have had access to a large library, something that the Centre certainly provided. What it more certain is that the Folklore Academy produced the “Treasury of County Folklore’ series for Britain whilst a sister organisation, the Folklore Fellowship, released a similar ‘Treasury of Folklore’ which seems to have focused on the folklore of other countries and ethic groups, alongside other thematic volumes. The latter are believed to have been produced by Muzza. Seemingly much of the work was derivative; taken from other works and research, but their output was certainly prolific.

  4. Hi,

    I live in Brecon, Wales and have just been reading his Treasury of Folklore number 52 “Tales & Traditions of Breconshire” It really is a very good read for local researchers into local and family history.

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