. . . Shortly after this a new 'Hydropathic Institution' opened in Ramsgate, Kent, also not far from London, in the extreme south east of the country. This seems to have been based on ideas from Germany where 'Nature Cure' clinics were catching on. It was run by a Surgeon, but the 'Governor' was one William Horsell and in 1846 he took over as editor of the Truth-Tester. This had been purely a temperance - anti-alcohol - magazine, but Horsell steered it towards promoting the 'Vegetable Diet' as well. There were letters from readers both for and against this change of direction, but it seems to have rapidly become the focal point for 'vegetarians' as they were now becoming known. . . .
. . . But where did the word [vegetarian] come from? Certainly not from the Bible Christians, they had been around for forty years and, whilst they may have been revolutionary in 1809, religious groups tend to stick to their traditions once established. And very unlikely to be from William Horsell as his use of words was also very cautious and conventional. The first appearance of 'vegetarian diet' and 'vegetarianism' - ie: other than using 'vegetarian' to describe a person - was in late 1847, his second volume, and even that was a direct quote from another journal. . . .
. . . By 1847 there were three main vegetarian groups in England, the Bible Christians in Salford; Alcott House in Surrey; and Northwood Villa - the Hydropathic Institute - in Ramsgate. The focal point became the Truth-Tester magazine, edited by William Horsell in Ramsgate. . . .
. . . On September 30 the meeting of at least 150 people invited Joseph Brotherton, a Bible Christian and the Member of Parliament for Salford, to take the chair. The Society was duly formed and elected James Simpson, another Bible Christian, as its first President. The Salford/Manchester connections were clear enough - but they also elected William Oldham of Alcott House as Treasurer, and more crucially, William Horsell of Ramsgate as Secretary. . . .
. . . In 1848 William Horsell used the Truth-Tester to announce the first Annual General Meeting of the Society to be held in Manchester. . . .
. . . Meanwhile William Horsell moved to London, opened his own printing press and re-launched his magazine as the Vegetarian Advocate, in an almost identical format to the Truth-Tester, but now moved clearly away from its Temperance roots. He was re-elected as Secretary of the Vegetarian Society and continued to run its affairs from London.
In May 1850 the Americans held a Convention in New York to launch the American Vegetarian Society and reports mentioned a letter of support from Mr. W. Horsell, London, Secretary of the English Vegetarian Society.
By late 1850 there was another journal, the Vegetarian Messenger, also privately published in London, though the owner/editor was never named within it, and the Advocate made friendly reference to it. In 1851 the Messenger reported the demise of the Advocate, without explanation, and stated that they would therefore take over the responsibility of representing the interests of Vegetarian Society members.
Mr. Horsell seems to have stepped down as Secretary around the same time that his journal ceased , but he continued to be active in his local branch, the London Vegetarian Association. . . .