Vegetarian Society

The Vegetarian Society is a UK registered charity that was founded 30 September 1847 to promote vegetarianism.


Communication Society (1890)

In the 19th century a number of groups in the UK actively promoted and followed meat-free diet. Key groups involved in the formation of the Vegetarian Society were members of the Bible Christian Church, followers of Concordium, and readers of the truth-testing record. [1]

Bible Christian Church

Bible Christian Church was founded in 1809 in Salford by Reverend William Cowherd after a split from Sweden. Characteristic of the Bible Christians was a belief in a meat-free diet, or ovo-lacto vegetarianism, as a form of temperance. [2] [3]

Concordium (Alcott House)

The Concordium was a boarding school near London on Ham Common, Richmond, Surrey, opened in 1838. Students at the school followed a diet completely free of animal products, known today as a vegan diet. The Concordium also called Alcott House, in honor of American education reform and food advocates Amos Bronson Alcott. [1]

Truth-Tests and physiological Conference 1847

Truth-Tester was a journal that published materials that support the temperance movement. In 1846 the editorship was taken over by William Horsell, operator of Northwood Villa hydropathic Institute in Ramsgate, Kent. Horsell gradually steered truth-Tests against the promotion of “vegetable diet.” In early 1847 a letter to the truth-Tester proposed the formation of a Vegetarian Society. In response to this letter, William Oldham held what he called a “physiological conference” in July 1847 at the Alcott House. Up to 130 attended, including Bible Christian James Simpson, who presented a speech. The conference passed a number of resolutions, including a resolution to convene at the end of September. [1]

Ramsgate Conference 1847

On September 30, 1847 meeting that was planned at physiological conference took place at Northwood Villa hydropathic Institute in Ramgate. [4] Joseph Brotherton, MP for Salford, and a Bible Christian president. Bible Christian James Simpson was elected president of the society, chose Concordist William Oldham treasurer, and truth-Tester editor William Horsell elected secretary. [5] The name “Vegetarian Society” was chosen for the new organization unanimously. [4]

After Ramsgate

Vegetarian Society’s first full public meeting was held in Manchester the following year. 1853 Society already had 889 members. In 1897 its membership was around 5000. [6]

Work in progress

During the 20s, the association’s work focuses primarily on public education. In fulfilling this mission worked compounds with other community groups to educate the public about the benefits of eating healthy. Vegetarian Society also took part in political events, such as a pressure group with the aim of influencing food manufacturers to remove non-vegetarian ingredients such as gelatin or cheese produced using animal rennet from their products. They searched the manufacturers to be accredited and branded food products with the association’s trademarked seedling symbol. [7] This accreditation includes the use of free-range eggs, which other V symbols can not cover. Their campaign opposed the labeling of products containing vegetarian fish. This measure is particularly affected restaurants. They also stressed the celebrities who claimed to be a vegetarian but ate fish. As part of this campaign, in 1995, produced Society documentary Devour the Earth , written by Tony Wardle and narrated by Paul McCartney.

Notable members

Notable members of the Vegetarian Society have included Peter Cushing, Isaac Pitman, Jorja Fox, George Bernard Shaw, Mahatma Gandhi and Paul, Linda and Stella McCartney.


  1. ^ Jump up to: abc Davis, John (28 July 2011). “The origin of” vegetarians “.” International Vegetarian Union.
  2. Jump up ^ Twigg, Julia. (1981). Vegetarian movement in England, 1847-1981: A Study in the structure of its ideology. (Doctoral). Retrieved from http: //
  3. Jump up ^ John Davis. “A History of Veganism from 1806” (PDF). International Vegetarian Union.
  4. ^ Hoppa upp till:a b “. Historia Vegetarian Society – tidiga historia” Vegetarian Society. Vegetarian Society i Storbritannien Limited. 27 juli 2011.
  5. Jump up ^ Spencer, Colin. Vegetarianism: A History. Four Walls Eight Windows, 2000. pp. 238-246.
  6. Jump up ^ Keith Thomas (1984) Man and nature change attitudes in England from 1500 to 1800 , p. 297th
  7. Hoppa upp^