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Vegetarianism in Belfast


From The Vegetarian (London), May 31, 1890:

For a consderable time past there has been a feeling among Vegetarians in Belfast that there should be an organisation formed to propagate a knowledge of the natural diet. This was very much felt some twelve months ago, when the London Vegetarian Society wished to hold a meeting here, to give a fruit-tea, and unite those interested in Vegetarianism. It was found impossible to make a gathering successful, and the only member of the London Vegetarian Society residing in Belfast was most reluctantly compelled to inform the society that it was impossible to arrange a meeting. However, during the past winter the London Society sent one of their lecturers to Belfast, the Rev. G. V. Briscoe, who gave a lecture to a large audience in the Working Men's Institute. In the early part of the year the Rev. Miles Grant was asked by Mr. Herron to give a lecture, at which Dr. H. S. Purdon presided. After the lecture those present were asked to try the Vegetarian system and to take a pledge to that effect, the result being that both those who were Vegetarians and those who wanted to give the diet a fair trial came forward. Mr. Herron gave several lectures in different quarters of the city, and by these means the nucleus of a society was formed.

About a month ago it was arranged by a few earnest promoters of our cause to hold a meeting, for which a very attractive invitation card was issued. The meeting was larger and more successful than its promoters anticipated, the object being to bring together only those who were Vegetarians, so that it was not advertised in the local papers. The proprietor of the flourishing local Vegetarian restaurant served up an excellent tea, with good wholemeal bread and a nice variety of stewed fruits, after which the meeting adjourned upstairs to the Vegetarian Hall, a nice room capable of seating about two hundred persons. Mr. George Trowbridge, an English gentleman who came over to Belfast some years ago as headmaster of the Government School of Art, and who has been a life Vegetarian, was asked to preside.

In an able speech the chairman advocated the advantages of a non-flesh diet, refuting the objections urged against the system by Herbert Spencer. He went on to say he had been a Vegetarian from a child, that his wife and five children were all Vegetarians, and that his father had been also a Vegetarian for upwards of forty years. He found no difficulty with the diet, he had seldom to call on the doctor, and the children were all alive and well.

Mr. Herron stated that the object of the meeting was to take the mind of those present as to the best means of advancing Vegetarianism. The first point to settle was, should they form an organisation, and if so what should be its name.

Mr. Bruce Wallace M.A., proprietor of the Belfast Evening Star, a gentlemad well know in political and social circles for his advance ideas and earnest endeavours to promote the welfare of humanity, moved the first resolution, "That we form ourselves into a Society, to be called the Irish Vegetarian Union." He supposed that literature and lectures on the subkect would be the principal means of promoting the cause. the economic aspect of the subject, rather than any sentimental one, was the best to put before the working classes. He said that Vegetarian dining-rooms were a practical way of letting people see the advantages, and thathe hoped to see dining-rooms for working men, where they could get a comfortable dinner very cheap.

Mr. James Sone seconded the resolution, and gace many pratical suggestions on the subject, advocating amongst other things short papers on the different aspects of Vegetarianism, and classes to instruct ladies in cookery.

Mr. Griffiths supported the resolution and called attention to the very high rate of mortality in Belfast, which, he said, was a sign that something was wrong in the habits of the people. After considerable discussion the motion was put to te meeting by the chairman, ad was carried by a large majority, the ladies all voting for it.

Mr. Herron proposed the following resolution, which was seconded by Mr. Joseph Worth, and passed unanimously : "That the objects of the society are to induce habits of total abstinence from the flesh of animals as food, by the dissemination of information upon the subject, by means of tracts, essays, and lectures, proving the many advantages of a physical, intellectual, and moral character, resulting from Vegetarian habits of diet, and thus to secire through the association, example, and effort of its members, the adoption of a principle which will tend essentially to universal brotherhood, and to the increase of human happiness generally."

Mr. Geo. Trobridge was unanimously elected as the first president, and Mr. Herron as secretary. Messrs. Worth, Orr, Cumings, Smith, Robinson, and M'Caughey also addressed the meeting. A vote of thanks to the ladies for their attendance and support brought the meeting to a close. The majority of the meeting entered their names a members of the Irish Vegetarian Union.

[The Vegetarian carried further reports from Belfast during 1890]

From the Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester) August, 1890, p.219:

The Irish Vegetarian Union. - It was hardly to the city of Belfast that we should have looked for a vindication of Home Rule principles; yet there we have found it, for Belfast has now originated an Irish Vegetarian Union, independent of the various English organisations, for the spread of Vegetarianism. We heartily congratulate the Belfast Vegetarians on this new step, and wish the Irish Vegetarian Union all success.

same issue, p249: Belfast. - On June 23rd, a large and important meeting was held in the Vegetarian Hall, Arthur Square, Belfast, Dr. H. S. Purdon in the chair. An address was given by Mr. George Trobridge, president of the newly formed Irish Vegetarian Union.

From the Vegetarian Messenger, (Manchester) October, 1890, p.314:

Belfast. - The Irish Vegetarian Union held a social meeting on Friday, Sept. 5th, to meet Dr. Allinson's party, who have been engaged on a walking tour. Dr. Allinson addressed the meeting.

From the Vegetarian Messenger, November, 1890, p.320:

Belfast. - A meeting of the Irish Vegetarian Union was held on Monday evening, September 22nd, in the Vegetarian Hall, Arthur Square. Mr. George Trobridge, president of the Union, presided. Arrangements were made to hold a series of meetings to advocate Vegetarianism. Rules were adopted, and a committe appointed to make suitable arrangements.

From the Vegetarian Messenger, July, 1891, p.214:

Belfast. - The Irish Vegetarian Union held its first annual meeting in the Vegetarian Hall, Arthur Square, on the 1st of June. Mr. George Trobridge, the president, took the chair. The report was read and adopted and a committee appointed.

From the Vegetarian Messenger, November, 1891, p.346:

Belfast. - On Friday, October 9th, a meeting of the Irish Vegetarian Union was held in the Christian' Meeting Place, Frederick Street. Mr. Straiton took the chair, and gave his experience of Vegetarianism during the past fifteen months. Mr. Herron then addressed the meeting on "The Advantages of Vegetarianism;" he was followed by Mr. Orr on "The Humanitarian Aspect." Mr. Griffiths also spoke on "The Relative Values of Different Foods." A number of questions were afterwards asked and answered by the speakers.

From the Vegetarian Messenger, November, 1892, p.216:

Belfast.-The members of the Irish Vegetarian Union held their second annual meeting in Crown Chambers, Royal Avenue, Belfast, on May 19. In the unavoidable absence of the president, the chair was taken by Mr. Joseph Worth who called upon the hon. secretary (Mr. Herron) to read the annual report, from which it appeared that a good amount of missionary work had been done by the Society during the past year in the form of public meetings, lectures, and debates, held throughout Belfast and neighbourhood, mainly amongst young men's societies, and that literature bearing on all aspects of the Vegetarian movement had been circulated at the meetings. The hon. treasurer (Mr. James Shone) presented a financial statement, from which it appeared that after paying all accounts a small balance was carried forward. Mr. George Trobridge was re-elected president, Mr. Herron secretary, Mr. Shone treasurer, and the general committee was re-appointed.