Thomas Paine, the political activist, philosopher, author, political theorist and revolutionary, is one figure who appears in all three archives of the Alternatives to Religion Project – National Secular Society, British Humanist Association and Conway Hall Ethical Society.
With the death of Pope Pius XII on 9 October 1958, British news published and broadcast a wave of positive eulogies for the Catholic leader. Celebrated nationally as the ‘Pope of Peace’, the National Secular Society were alarmed by the uncritical reporting of Pius’ leadership.
The National Secular Society was established by the political activist and atheist Charles Bradlaugh in 1886. The Society aimed to promote secularism and argued for a division between church and state.
From even a quick browse of the archive, it is clear that Conway Hall Ethical Society has a long tradition of forging connections with kindred organisations. Included in this illuminating collection is a snapshot about Gora and the Atheist Centre in Vijayawada, India.
Nineteenth-century marriages at Conway Hall Ethical Society.
Here are three beautifully designed late twentieth-century leaflets from the British Humanist Association archives advertising humanist ceremonies for birth, partnerships and death.