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 - Thesis Index

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now Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at Kent University, England, and has given permission for this previously unpublished thesis to be published on the IVU website.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.

[Numerical links are to the author's footnotes, use your back button to return to the same point in the text. Text links are to relevant items on the IVU website, all open in new windows. The original was text-only, all pictures have been added.]

Joseph Brotherton, MP for Salford, Bible Christian, chaired the Ramsgate meeting.

James Simpson, Bible Christian, first President.

Henry Clubb in 1896

Introduction and origins

In this first period, the society was in essence a Bible Christian organisation, and its leading figures were nearly all members of the church. [editor's notes]

The driving force behind the society was James Simpson, its first president, and it was his liberality, pouring funds into the society, that sustained its activities. (1) These largely took the form of vegetarian dinners and soirées held in town halls and public rooms across the country, to which local people were invited to sample the possibility of a vegetarian diet and to listen to speeches and testimonials. Lecture tours were also arranged. A second major form of propaganda was the Vegetarian Messenger, published from September 1849 under the editorship of H.S. Clubb a former member of the Concordium. (2) It was distributed widely; in 1854 some twenty-one thousand copies were circulated. (3)

  1. 40.Axon gives as Simpson’s motive for calling the Ramsgate conference, [editor's notes] his recognition of the need for an organisation to promote vegetarian ideas to official opinion as a means of solving the terrible distress in the manufacturing districts in 1845. For the general emergence of food as part of the social question in pauperism literature and for the beginnings of involvement of the state in nutritional assessment with a view to economic and military strength, see H.J. Teuteberg, 'The General Relationship between Diet and Industrialisation', B. and R. Foster, eds. European Diet from Pre-Industrial to Modern Times, New York, 1975, Teuteberg writes largely from German sources.
  2. 41.H.S. CLUBB: 1827-1922 [link to longer article]. His parents were Swedenborgians and for a time vegetarians. Clubb was working as a clerk in the post office at Coichester when he heard of the Concordium and resolved to join it, arriving in 1842. There he taught shorthand. It was through an article in The Truth Tester that he came into contact with Simpson and became his secretary. In 1850 he was baptised as a Bible Christian. He travelled to America to work for the American Vegetarian Society, met Horace Greeley and became a journalist on the New York Tribune, where he became involved in the abolitionist cause. He was commissioned by Lincoln in the Civil War and was wounded. He and his wife later started a paper, The Clarion, in Michigan. In 1871 he was elected Senator, promoting the Michigan fruit interest. In 1876 he became pastor of the Bible Christians, and was involved in the reforming of the American Vegetarian Society. In 1901 he revisited Salford. (See Axon; Clubb's articles in the Herald of Health, May to August, 1906;The History of the Philadelphia Bible Christian Church, 1817-1917 [2mb PDF], 1922). [see also a contemporary bio and photo of Henry Clubb from the Vegetarian Messenger, January 1896, p.9]
  3. 42. Whether they were read is doubtful - copies were distributed free to libraries, mechanics institutes and even hotels. Subscribers were encouraged to show it to those with parallel and sympathetic interests. (VM Jan 1858 p1) Members were encouraged to proselytise by letter and vegetarian writing paper printed with arguments and principles and published by Horsell, survives in Manchester City archives. There was a second journal, The Vegetarian Advocate, published and owned by William Horsell. It was not intended to rival the Messenger, but was to be a source of news of events for vegetarians. In 1852 it was absorbed into the Messenger. 
    WILLIAM HORSELL: 1807-1863, temperance and hydropaphic interests, editor and proprietor of The Truth Tester, owned the Ramsgate hydropathic nursing home.

Editor's notes: The Society became a Bible Christian organisation only after the first 2 or 3 years. Initially William Horsell was the Secretary, based in London, and publishing his magazine, then called the Vegetarian Advocate (previously the Truth Tester then The Healthian) as the Society's journal.

Axon's claim that Simpson called the meeting is an example of Manchester re-writing history to airbrush out London - after the London Vegetarian Society broke away in 1888 - and of upgrading the importance of the Bible Christian Church, of which Axon was also a member. In fact the Sept. 30, 1847, meeting at Ramsgate was an adjournment of the original meeting in London in July, called by William Oldham at the Concordium (he became the first Treasurer) and supported by William Horsell (the manager, not the owner of the Ramsgate Hydropathic Hospital) via the Truth Tester which he ran privately.
(see for the first letter to the Truth Tester 1847, from Hampshire, suggesting the formation of a Society, and William Oldham's call to a meeting. Also for the first meeting at the Concordium, and for the second meeting at Ramsgate; plus
for the elected Officers and Rules - inlcuding one that the Secretary was to keep 25% of all subscriptions - in London - for his expenses.)

James Simpson, from 'near Blackburn' attended the first meeting and was a speaker, among others. He then wrote a letter, with others, to the the Truth Tester ecouraging everyone to attend the second meeting. Simpson was elected President at the Ramsgate meeting (undoubtedly because he had the most money, which he proceeded to spend in large amounts on the Society) but he appears to have had some differences with Horsell within a year or two. The Vegetarian Messenger was published from Manchester from 1850, initially alongside Horsell's London journal, but replacing it by 1851. Simpson then moved the office, with a new Secretary and much greater Bible Christian influence, to Salford - and it has been in the Manchester area ever since.
(see The Origins of the Vegetarians for a general summary of the formation of the Society and the appearance of the word 'vegetarian')

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