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.

Architecture and Place: introducing a Conway Hall digitisation project

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Herbert Mansford plaque

“All architecture is shelter, all great architecture is the design of space that contains, cuddles, exalts, or stimulates the persons in that space.” – Philip Johnson Conway Hall opened in September 1929 for the members of the South Place Ethical Society. It was designed by F. Herbert Mansford, a member…

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Society dinners and events

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This month focuses on a few photographs from dinners and social events held by some of our freethinking brethren and which are held in our archives.

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Handbook of the Bazaar (1898)

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This month’s document is a brochure to an event held at South Place in 1898 to raise funds to pay off the debt of the chapel.

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19th Century Finance Records

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This month’s choice is a selection of finance reports from the 19th century from the early days of the society when it was located in South Place, Finsbury.

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The Accusation, Condemnation and Abjuration of Galileo Galilei (1819)

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This gem was recently discovered in the Library at Conway Hall. Published by Richard Carlile (1790-1843) in 1819, it is an account of the trial of Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) in 1633 who was charged with heresy by the Catholic Church.

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La Bible Amusante (1882)

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The first of this series of treasures from the library and archives at Conway Hall is an anticlerical book by a French author under the pseudonym of Léo Taxil.

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Explore the History of Secularism, Humanism and Freethought!

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Image © British Humanist Association

After 18 months the Alternatives to Religion cataloguing project reaches its conclusion this week. The project has unearthed the histories of three influential non-theistic organisations, making their archives freely accessible for the first time.

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“A centenary of trying to make people think”

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Bertrand Russell letter

In 1966 the National Secular Society celebrated 100 years of campaigning for the separation of religion and state. In the run-up to the anniversary they received numerous warm, funny and thought-provoking letters of support from the most influential figures of the day.

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Family Planning Association Picket, 1961

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This collection of photographs were taken during a protest against British Transport’s decision to remove Family Planning Association adverts from London Underground in 1961.

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Next month will see the 181st birthday of Charles Bradlaugh

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Charles Bradlaugh

Next month will see the 181st birthday of Charles Bradlaugh, a committed atheist and political activist. Bradlaugh was the founder of the National Secular Society, bringing together localised secular societies to campaign for the separation of Church and State.

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