Image from the Architect's Journal 1929
Conway Hall Deeds by Andrew West
Archives & Family History
The library holds the archives of the South Place Ethical Society and its predecessors, including deeds of the Conway Hall site dating from 1685/6, and much of the correspondence of the Society’s most eminent minister, the American abolitionist Moncure Daniel Conway (1832-1907). A recent acquisition is the personal archive of humanist leader Harold Blackham (1903-2009). Manuscript materials include the autobiographies of the Chartist leader William Lovett (1800-1877) and the preacher and politician William Johnson Fox (1786-1864).
Most of the archival material has yet to be electronically catalogued, but access is possible through various finding aids. The Blackham papers, the deeds collection and the minute books have been electronically catalogued. We also have architectural plans which have been digitised.
We also hold the archives of the National Secular Society but these have not yet been catalogued. An outline of the scope and content of the archives of the South Place Ethical Society and the National Secular Society has been written by our Honorary Archivist. Please check these documents and if there is something of interest, contact the Library for further information.
Please note that we do not hold the archives of the Rationalist Press Association. These can be found at the Bishopsgate Institute.
- W J Fox autobiography [pdf]
- Building of Conway Hall [pdf]
- South Place Ethical Society archives [pdf]
- National Secular Society archives [pdf]
Conway Memorial Lectures
The full text digitising of the first 50 Conway Memorial Lectures is now complete and ready to use!
As an example of the calibre of these lectures, please take a look at Bertand Russell's 1922 Conway Memorial Lecture 'Freethought and Official Propaganda.'
We have membership records dating from 1895, giving names and addresses of members, and offices held within the Ethical Society, as well as activities and obituaries.