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.

The South Place Chapel and Institute Soiree

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The South Place Chapel - poster

The South Place Chapel and Institute Soiree Committee produced some wonderfully playful programmes for their events.

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Sunday Lectures at Conway Hall

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Sunday lectures

Conway Hall Ethical Society has been providing an alternative to Sunday services – the Sunday Lectures, since the congregation of South Place Chapel moved away from religion in the nineteenth century.

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Late Victorian advertisements for events held by South Place Ethical Society

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Late Victorian advertisements for events held by South Place Ethical Society

Late Victorian advertisements for events held by South Place Ethical Society, South Place Chapel, (1894-1903). Including rambles, bazaars and book sales.

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Conway Hall Ethical Society has a history of supporting other groups who share some of the ethical or social principles of the Society

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The members of Conway Hall Ethical Society have a long history of supporting other groups who share some of the ethical or social principles of the Society

The members of Conway Hall Ethical Society have a long history of supporting other groups who share some of the ethical or social principles of the Society. This was especially so under the Chairmanship of Peter Cadogan, (1971-1980). During this time the Society created links with a range of campaign and social groups from nuclear disarmament to child poverty.

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Famous Connections

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Famous Connections

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Conway Hall Ethical Society was connected to both the great and the good of the age. Many came to address the Society at their Sunday and mid week lectures including Bertrand Russell, William Morris, Sidney Webb and the suffragettes Marion Phillips and Marion Holmes.

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Conway Hall at 75

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Conway Hall at 75

In 2004 Conway Hall celebrated it’s 75th anniversary. South Place Ethical Society (now Conway Hall Ethical Society) for who the Hall was purpose built in 1929, celebrated with an evening of talks, tours, music and exhibitions.

Read "Conway Hall at 75"

Late Victorian advertisements

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Late Victorian advertisement for children’s parties

Late Victorian advertisements for children’s parties organised by the Soiree Committee of South Place Ethical Society, (1896-1900). The parties involved performance, dance and games.

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Peter Cadogan’s Life Mask

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Peter Cadogan’s Life Mask

Peter Cadogan was Chairman of Conway Hall Ethical Society from 1970 to 1981. He was a firm believer in freedom on speech, taking the controversial decision to allow the British National Front to hold meetings at Conway Hall, despite his own anti-fascist convictions.

Read "Peter Cadogan’s Life Mask"

Conway Hall Ethical Society Lectures

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Conway Hall Ethical Society Lectures

Conway Hall Ethical Society has a long history of running public lectures, discussions and a library service. This advert from their former home at South Place, (c.1910) highlights a continuity at the heart of the Society.

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The case of Senor Ferrer: secularist, anarchist and freethinker

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Senor Ferrer: secularist, anarchist and freethinker

Conway Hall Ethical Society (formerly South Place Ethical Society) has a long history of promoting liberty, ethics and justice, as well as supporting social, political and secular campaigners. In 1909 the Society publicly demonstrated its support for Senor Francisco Ferrer, a Spanish anarchist who used his fortune to promote secular education and campaign for political freedom.

Read "The case of Senor Ferrer: secularist, anarchist and freethinker"