Concerts, Journal and Famous Names

Concerts, Journal and ‘The Good’

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Helen Henschel playing in the South Place Chapel at the 1000th Concert in 1927
Helen Henschel playing in the South Place Chapel at the 1000th Concert in 1927
George William Foote
George William Foote
Thomas Henry Huxley

The year 1887 saw the birth of the South Place Sunday Concerts of chamber music – at a time when it was very daring to hold any kind of secular entertainment on Sundays. This series was destined to reach a high standing in the musical world and has now numbered more than two thousand concerts, its 2000th concert being held in March 1969.

The Ethical Record

The first official organ of the Society was the South Place Magazine which flourished from 1895 to 1909, and, like the present journal, consisted largely of summaries of the Sunday discourses. An article that appeared in October 1897 in protest against the teaching of religion in schools would, if reprinted today, seem an up-to-the-minute statement of the Humanist position in the current controversy. On the magazine‘s demise for lack of funds, its place was taken by a less ambitious publication called simply the Monthly Lists which gradually gained sufficiently in size and importance to justify a change of title in 1920 to Monthly Record. The latest change, to Ethical Record, was made at the beginning of 1965.

‘The great and the good’!

It would take up too much space here to list all the famous people who have occupied the Society‘s platform and been reported in its journal during all these years, but here is a more-or-less random selection of Appointed Lecturers and others:

Felix Adler, Norman Angell, William Archer, A J Ayer, Annie Besant, C Delisle Burns, Herbert Burrows, W K Clifford, John Drinkwater, G W Foote, John A Hobson, Laurence Housman, Fred Hoyle, Julian Huxley, T H Huxley, Cyril Joad, Margaret Knight, Peter Kropotkin, Joseph McCabe, William Morris, Gilbert Murray, H W Nevinson, S K Ratcliffe, John M Robertson, Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw, Leslie Stephen, Graham Wallas, Sidney Webb, Rebecca West and Israel Zangwill.

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