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.

Council minutes

Delving into the British Humanist Association archive, the first surviving minute book of the Union of Ethical Societies (forerunner of the Association) creates an image of a thriving, growing organisation with widespread interest in the Ethical Movement.

James Hemming, President 1977-1980

In 2013 Jim Al-Khalili, theoretical physicist, broadcaster and author, was announced as the new President of the British Humanist Association. Al-Khalili joins the list of distinguished former Presidents including Julian Huxley, Alfred Jules Ayer, Edmund Leach, George Melly, Harold Blackham, James Hemming, Hermann Bondi, Clare Rayner, Linda Smith and Polly Toynbee.

The records of the Ethical Union and British Humanist Association

As well as the records of the Ethical Union and British Humanist Association, the archive (held by Bishopsgate Institute) also contains material of affiliated humanist groups.

The Ethical Church, Queensway, Bayswater

The Ethical Church, Queensway, Bayswater, was established in the late 1890s by Dr Stanton Coit, founder of the West London Ethical Society and a prominent figure in the Ethical Movement. Coit hoped that his Church would be the first of many ‘ethical churches’ and act as encouragement to other established churches (ie. the Church of England), to move away from religious teaching.

Going to pot in 1968?

As well as challenging the role of religion in society, the student branch of the British Humanist Association turned their attention to other contemporary issues concerning their members…

View Going to pot in 1968?

Wed, 11th Sep, 2013
’70s style and socialising at British Humanist Association and International Humanist and Ethical Union conferences.

’70s style and socialising at British Humanist Association and International Humanist and Ethical Union conferences.

International Connections

Throughout the twentieth century the Ethical Union, and later the British Humanist Association (BHA), made numerous connections with organisations around the world.

View International Connections

Wed, 28th Aug, 2013
atheist-child-custody

In 1956 the Scottish Daily Mail and Edinburgh Daily Dispatch ran a story about a ‘confirmed’ atheist who was appealing for custody of his daughter.

trial leaflet

This trial leaflet from the BHA’s archive demonstrates the continuity of the Association’s message.

View What is Humanism?

Wed, 7th Aug, 2013
A cordial invitation to the young men of Victorian Kentish Town

A cordial invitation to the young men of Victorian Kentish Town from Dr Stanton Coit’s Neighbourhood Guild.

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