International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

11th IVU World Vegetarian Congress 1947

Stonehouse, England

1947 Revisited

On March 10th, 2006, the IVU webmaster was given the privilege of a tour of Wycliffe College, Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, the venue of the 1947 World Vegetarian Congress. The guides were three Old Wycliffians who had generously taken time out for the occasion. All of them had fond memories of 'WAS' - Mr. William Arthur Sibly M.A., J.P., who was the headmaster for 35 years from 1912 until 1947, a life vegetarian and President of both IVU and the Vegetarian Society.

The school was founded in 1882 by his father, Mr. G. W. Sibly, who had become a vegetarian as a teenager in 1868, and in later life became a Vice-President of the Vegetarian Society. William Arthur was born in a first floor room of the school the following year. The young W.A.Sibly was a pupil at his father's school, only leaving to attend Oxford University before returning as a junior master. He soon became house-master of Springfield, a fully vegetarian house for the rest of W.A.'s lifetime. Mr. Sibly sent frequent reports of the progress of his vegetarian boys to the Vegetarian Messenger, and the Vegetarian Society eventually compiled these reports into a booklet. He retired from the headship in 1947, but lived in a house next to the school until he died in 1959.

In 1938 'WAS', as he was affectionately known, became the President of the Vegetarian Society. Then, after the war, he became President of IVU and invited the world's vegetarians to Wycliffe in 1947, in order to re-start the World Vegetarian Congresses which had begun in 1908.

Mr. Sibly was re-elected IVU President in 1950. However, IVU was then being funded by a wealthy American, Mrs. Gasque, and at 1953 Congress he stepped down, inviting the Congress to elect Mrs. Gasque as President. He continued as 'Past President' but as Mrs. Gasque was rarely able to attend IVU meetings Mr. Sibly chaired most of them until his death in 1959.

The photos below are a mixture of new and old. Click on the small graphics for bigger pictures.

The old school hall - the main Congress venue

The same room today - now the school library

From the portraits of past headmasters in the modern dining hall. Mr. G. W. Sibly, the founder, on the right, and his son Mr. W. A Sibly, on the left. Both life vegetarians.

The 1947 delegates . .

. . outside the science block

our tour guides outside the same building, now extended

The courtyard where the group photo was taken.
The old hall is behind the large window on the first floor to the left.