atheism

This blog comes from our volunteer, Selina Packard, who selected the theme of atheism as a highlight of our nineteenth-century pamphlet collection. In this blog, Selina discusses different attitudes to atheism in the nineteenth century and today, with reference to a few pamphlets now available to read online. These pamphlets…

Handshake

In this intriguing and timely event, two high profile figures Tehamina Kazi and Boyd Sleator will discuss these important issues impacting our society today.

Charles Bradlaugh MP

Charles Bradlaugh, “Atheist, Republican and Malthusian”, was a maverick figure in late nineteenth-century radical politics. Bradlaugh needs to be remembered, not just for standing trial under the Obscene Publications Act in 1877 with Mrs Annie Besant for publishing a birth control pamphlet, but for the six-year battle he fought to take his seat as M.P. for Northampton. Extraordinarily Bradlaugh won his parliamentary seat in 1880 as a Liberal, yet it was Gladstone’s Liberal government which kept him out for the entire parliament. A bit of historical skulduggery with lessons for today.

Charles Bradlaugh MP

Charles Bradlaugh, “Atheist, Republican and Malthusian”, was a maverick figure in late nineteenth-century radical politics. Bradlaugh needs to be remembered, not just for standing trial under the Obscene Publications Act in 1877 with Mrs Annie Besant for publishing a birth control pamphlet, but for the six-year battle he fought to take his seat as M.P. for Northampton. Extraordinarily Bradlaugh won his parliamentary seat in 1880 as a Liberal, yet it was Gladstone’s Liberal government which kept him out for the entire parliament. A bit of historical skulduggery with lessons for today.

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.

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.

Protesters

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.

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.

National Secular Society members

National Secular Society members in Nottingham on 5 June 1949 attending the Society’s Annual Conference.

NSS meeting, 1926

Throughout the 20th century the National Secular Society kept records of local secular society branches and affiliated groups. This included organisations both in the UK and abroad. From the National Secular Society archive, this photograph captures the Birmingham Branch on their annual outing in 1926.

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