From the Archives Blog

From the Archives allows us in the Humanist Library and Archives to share some of our wonderful items and our learning with you!

It also includes entries from the former A2R (Alternatives to Religion) blog, a collaborative project between Conway Hall and Bishopsgate Institute which sparked exploration of some of the ways people have tried to make sense of the world and live together ethically without the need for faith in a God or gods. The key themes linking this broad movement are Freethought, Ethics, Humanism, Rationalism and Secularism. Material for these entries came from the British Humanist Association, The National Secular Society and Conway Hall Ethical Society. Posts were written by archivists, Nicky Hilton and Carl Harrison.

A ‘pleasant evening’ for the Victorian girls of Kentish Town

A ‘pleasant evening’ for the Victorian girls of Kentish Town – Swedish drill, singing and tableaux.

Neighbourhood Guilds

When not experimenting with new camera technology in France, Dr Stanton Coit was a dedicated social reformer. In New York and London, Coit pioneered the creation of Neighbourhood Guilds.

A young Doctor Stanton Coit

The photographs show a young Doctor Stanton Coit on holiday with friends on the French coast in 1889.

The Moral Religious Thinkers Conferences

Following the Moral Religious Thinkers Conferences in the 1920s, the link between education and religion continued to feature prominently in the Ethical Movement.


In late 1919, the Union of Ethical Societies appointed representatives of South Place Ethical Society, the Free Religious Movement and the Union to form a Joint Committee to ‘consider and report as to the lines upon which it would be desirable to call a conference of Modern Religious Thinkers’.

View Joint Committee

Wed, 26th Jun, 2013
Photography c.1910

This photograph was taken at a dinner in memory Charles Bradlaugh, founder of the National Secular Society, in c.1910.

Golden rules of human behaviour

The ‘golden rules’ of human behaviour and are central concepts in humanism.

When the BHA almost wasn’t the BHA

When the BHA almost wasn’t the BHA.

Ethical Union Housing Association

One of the central concepts of humanism is that people should strive to “live full and happy lives…and, as part of this, help make it easier for other people to do the same”. Consequently, many humanists have a special interest in social reform and welfare.

British Humanist Association original logo

Here is the original design of the ‘Happy Human’ by Dennis Barrington, now the international symbol of humanism.

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