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.

A short history of Conway Hall Ethical Society

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Beginnings The story of Conway Hall Ethical Society dates back to 1787 and a nonconformist congregation, led by Elhanan Winchester, rebelling against the doctrine of eternal damnation. This group of freethinking individuals, based in a small chapel on the eastern edge of London (Parliament Court Chapel), was the beginnings of…

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Victorian Blogging – The Pamphleteers Who Dared to Dream of a Better World

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          Today, Conway Hall in Red Lion Square, Bloomsbury, has received £88,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, Victorian Blogging – The Pamphleteers Who Dared to Dream of a Better World. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project…

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Joseph McCabe and the Little Blue Books

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Conway Hall is a purpose built building designed by F. Herbert Mansford, a member of the South Place Ethical Society (now called Conway Hall Ethical Society), and built in 1928-29. It contains capacious basements that provide a large amount of space for storage. Over the 80 plus years that the…

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The Seylers and South Place

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Often archive inquiries can lead you down interesting paths and this was the case with an inquiry we received last year. A researcher asked for information regarding Clarence Heinrici Seyler (1840-1906), father to the actress Athene Seyler, while attempting to discover what connection Clarence had with the researcher’s grandfather. Clarence…

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Peppercorn Rents and Parchment

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Many of the items included in our digitisation project, Architecture and Place, were leases for the property on which Conway Hall was built. They span several centuries and the oldest dates back to 1685. There are many interesting aspects of these documents and two of these are explored below. Peppercorn…

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The Empty Niche (2016) – Trailer

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Coming soon. A one hour documentary about Moncure Conway, noted abolitionist, writer and freethinker and the mystery of his missing bronze bust.

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Architecture and Place digitisation project launch

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It has been some weeks since we launched the Architecture and Place digitisation project in September during the 2016 Open House London Festival. We had over 300 people visit the library over the weekend (well above our usual attendance!) and several took advantage to join the tours given by our CEO,…

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A New Home for the Society

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“Sunday, September 1, 1929, is a memorable date in the history of the South Place Ethical Society, for on that morning its members met for the first time in Conway Hall. It was a moment of joyful excitement. At last the new home was ready for occupation and here we…

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Architecture and Place: June 2016 update

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A profound design process eventually makes the patron, the architect, and every occasional visitor in the building a slightly better human being. – Juhani Pallasmaa Welcome to the June update for the Architecture and Place digitisation project underway at the Humanist Library and Archives at Conway Hall. We have included…

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Conway the Journalist

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Moncure Daniel Conway was a prolific writer, authoring a multitude of books and pamphlets and contributing to a number journals and magazines. In 1860, when Conway was twenty-eight, he founded The Dial, the title of which paid tribute to a Transcendentalist journal of the 1830s and 40s founded by his…

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