International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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The Vegetarian Society (UK) and IVU, 1907-1913


In October 1907 the Vegetarian Society celebrated its 60th anniversary with an international gathering at the Annual General Meeting in Manchester. The Deputy President of the French Vegetarian Society made a long, and impassioned, plea for an International organisation to link together all the Vegetarian Societies around the world. This was taken up by Albert Broadbent, the Secretary of the Vegetarian Society, resulting in the first Congress, held in Dresden in 1908.

The following extracts are from the Vegetarian Messenger and record the British involvement:

July 1908
International Vegetarian Federation. - Arrangements are in progress ... for the inauguration of an International Federation of Vegetarian Societies. ... For the organisation of which the Vegetarian Society is responsible. ...

August 1908
International Vegetarian Congress at Dresden. - ... Mr. William Harrison, Mr. William Simpson, Mr. Hamilton Harris, and Mr. Albert Broadbent will represent the Vegetarian Society. Miss F. I. Nicholson will represent the London Vegetarian Society, ... The Vegetarian Society is responsible for the organisation of the Congress.

October 1908
The International Vegetarian Union
... Mr. Albert Broadbent, who on behalf of the Vegetarian Society, had called together the Congress, then explained the proposal to found an International Vegetarian Union had emanated from Dr. Danjou, vice-president of the French Vegetarian Society, ... Dr. Selss (Baden-Baden), Dr. Meyroos (Rotterdam), and Mr. Albert Broadbent (Manchester, England), were appointed to act as a Committee. ... It was decided that the next Congress should be held in England, as the Centenary of the Bible Christian Church - out of which the Vegetarian movement grew - would be celebrated in 1909 at Manchester. ...

... A good deal of interest was aroused by a description by Mr. Broadbent of the very practical work undertaken in Great Britain ; such as the work done in London by the London Vegetarian Association in providing cheap meals for school children, the lectures and cookery demonstrations; the success in inducing steamship companies and railways to cater for vegetarians; the publication of simple and easy recipes; the operations of the Vegetarian Society's Summer holidays; the establishment of restaurants at exhibitions, the Cookery lectures given under the Education Committees of Glasgow, Manchester and Salford. ... Mr. Albert Broadbent gave an address on Vegetarianism: its past, present, and future. ...


The restaurant built by the British Vegetarian Society in Brussels. The wording below the roof says: 'Restaurant Vegetarien'. The people, just visible in the upper floor windows give an idea of the size.

April 1910
The International Exhibition at Brussels is announced to open on the 22nd of April. We are hopeful that the Vegetarian Society's Restaurant will prove an interesting feature of the Exhibition. The organisation has been carried through by our Secretary, Mr. Broadbent, and will be under his direction throughout the term of the Exhibition. The propaganda at our restaurant will be of an international character, and some of the literature of all the chief Vegetarian Societies will be exhibited for sale. There will be waitresses of Belgian, Dutch, German and English nationality, and there will be tables at which the English, Dutch and German are spoken ; each will carry a miniature flag of the country represented by the waitress. The manager, Miss Linke, speaks fluently English, French and German, as do also other of our helpers at the restaurant. Breakfasts luncheons, teas and evening dinners will he supplied. Breakfasts and teas at 75 centimes. Four-course dinners at one franc. The position of our restaurant is one of the most beautiful in the Exhibition. It is under the shelter of the magnificent Bois de Cambre, and we have been fortunate in the Exhibition authorities having decided to make a public entrance at our door from these beautiful woodlands.

July 1910
Third Congress of the International Vegetarian Union.
The two delegates from Manchester, representing the Vegetarian Society, were Dr. Wm. E.A. Axon and Miss Hompes. Dr. Axon gave a few words of greeting in true hearty English, and then Miss Hompes read a fairly full report - substantial Dr. Nyssens called it - of the organisation and work of our Society, showing our various modes of propaganda and the success which has attended our publications, gatherings, MESSENGER, restaurants, and feeding of the poor in times of distress, Miss Nicholson's work among the school child-ren of London, the Summer Schools, etc.. Dr. Axon also read a short paper in French on "Vegetarianism and the Intellectual Life" at a later date in the Congress. All our efforts were fully appreciated. It is probable that Miss Hompes report may be printed later.

June 1913
The delegates of the Vegetarian Society, Rev A.O.Broadley and Miss Mahilde Hompes, spoke respectively on "The Vegetarian Church in Salford" and "Vegetarianism and Peace." The latter was read in Dutch before the Public Meeting on Monday evening. Both were well received.

The following is a list of the papers:- [from UK]
Those marked with an * were read.
Mr. Emary, of London, *"Vegetarianism in England."
Dr. Alex. Haig, of England, "The Vegetarian Ideal."
Miss Hompes, of Manchester, *" Vegetarianismn and Peace."
J. A. Gill, of Tunbridge Wells, *"Two Green Subjects."
Rev. A. O. Broadley, of Manchester, *"The Vegetarian Church."
Dr. Jos. Oldfleld, of Bromley (England), "Diet in the Treatment of Indigestion."
Dr. A. B. Olsen, of Caterham (England), *" Protein Problem of Vegetarianism."
Dr. Robert Bell, of London, "The Cancer Scourge and how to Destroy it."

On Tuesday evening it was suggested that the International Union should nominate a Secretary, and that the various Societies belonging to it should contribute towards a fund for the Union. This was deferred to the General Committee, which met later in the day. Rules for raising a fund were drawn up and Miss Mathilde Hompes, of Manchester, was elected Hon. Secretary of the International Vegetarian Union.

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