International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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1847-1981 :

A thesis presented to the London School of Economics, University of London,
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, by Julia Twigg
©AUTUMN 1981

The author is now Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at Kent University, England, and has given permission for this previously unpublished thesis to be published on the IVU website. The ownership and copyright remain hers and no part of this thesis may be used elsewhere without her express permission.


The subject of this thesis is the vegetarian movement in England from 1847 to 1981. The work combines an historical, sociological and anthropological approach, and has been based on published historical and modern materials, supplemented by interviews and observation.

The historical material is divided into four periods, concentrating on the four major phases of modern vegetarianism (the l840s and early '50s; the 1880s and '90s; the late 1920s and the late 1960s and '70s), Particular emphasis is placed on the parallel beliefs and attitudes with which vegetarianism is associated. This has involved tracing historical connections within the fields of, among others, medicine, religion, political thought and aspects of life styles, as well as in attitudes to animals and the Animal, to Nature and the natural, both with a view to making sense of these interconnections, and attempting to place vegetarianism within the wider cultural context, particularly as part of the continuing upsurge in western culture of a Romanticist set of ideas.

The study has aimed to use certain concepts derived from anthropology, but in an advanced cultural setting. Vegetanianism has been chosen as providing an articulate body of material relating to food and food habits. The study has employed a modified structuralist analysis in terms of vegetarian food categories (for example, cold/hot, raw/cooked, natural/artificial) and the elaboration of these within the ideology (pure/impure, life/death, non-time/time). Their meaning is examined also in the wider context of the structured relationship of food categories in dominant meat-eating culture, Particularly the role of meat and blood, The main purpose of the study, however, for which the examination of the wider social and historical context has been emphasised, has been to relate this analysis to the broader field of social relations that give it meaning.




1. Why Vegetarianism?

2. The Definition and Unity of the Ideology

  1. Definition
  2. Vegetarianism as a United Ideology

3. Meat and Blood


4. Historical Introduction

5. The Early-Nineteenth Century: 1847-1860

  1. Introduction
  2. The Concordium
  3. The Bible Christian Church
  4. The Vegetarian Society
    1. Introduction and Origins
    2. Society Members and their Beliefs
    3. An Urban Phenomenon
    4. An Ideology Inducive to Capitalism?
    5. Reform Interests and Decline
6. The Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Centuries: 1861-1913
  1. Decline and Revival, 1860-1880s
  2. Arnold Hills and the London Vegetarian Society
  3. Socialism
  4. The Simple Life
  5. Social Health and the Body
    1. Edward Carpenter
    2. Dress Reform and Naturism
  6. Sexuality
  7. Feminism
  8. Medicine
  9. Animal Welfare
    1. Anti-Vivisection
    2. The Humanitarian League
  10. The Religious Background
    1. Shared Themes
    2. Main Movements


7. The Great War and the Interwar Period: 1914-1938

  1. Diet in the War
  2. Vegetarianism Between the Wars
  3. Sunlight and Nature
  4. Medicine and Nature Cure
  5. Food & Health Debate
  6. Political Links
  7. The Peace Movement
  8. Internationalism and Esperanto
  9. Progressive Education
  10. The Religious Connections
    1. Introduction
    2. The Order of the Cross
    3. Mazdaznan
    4. Quakers
    5. Seventh Day Adventism

8. The Modern Period: 1939-1981

  1. The Second World War
  2. Veganism
  3. The Counter Culture
  4. Vegetarianism in the Seventies
  5. Nutrition and the Critique of the Food Industry
  6. Feminist and Homosexual Associations
  7. Alternative Medicine
  8. Religious and Spiritual Links
  9. Animal Rights
  10. Ecology and Nature
Note on Class Background


9. The Structure of the Ideology

  1. Nature and Wholeness
  2. Life, Death and Eden
  3. The Pure Body
  4. Newness
  5. Non-Structure
  6. Boundaries