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Vegetarian Federal Union 1889-1911

ANNUAL REPORT 1897

MIDLAND PROVINCE

THE Jubilee Year of the Vegetarian Movement is past and gone and I am reminded that I must render a resumé of work for 1897. This, as in previous years, has been chiefly among Temperance and other Societies for making the world better who are now beginning to realize that there is something in Vegetarianism worthy, of earnest and sincere thought. They admit the arguments; they are fully convinced that we are right. They acknowledge it is best and there they stop. The habits they have already formed are bard to break off; like alcohol drinking and tobacco smoking, they admit them to be wrong - but like them, and as such cling to them tenaciously. Still, on the whole the work has been very cheering and shows just cause for rejoicing.

Meetings held. - During the year I have addressed 229 meetings, Birmingham and neighbourhood absorbing 135, the other 96 being distributed as follows :- Astwood Bank 1, Atherstone 1, Bedford (Purvey) 1, Bournville 3, Brierley Hill 3, Bilston 3, Coventry 18, Cradley 1, Dudley 4, Derby 5, Harborne 2, Kidderminster 3, Leeds 2, Moseley 1, Northampton 3, Nuneaton 1, Odbury 1, Pensnett 1, Redditch 2, Rugby 5, Selly Oak 3, Smethwick 1, Stourbridge 3, Sutton 1, Tividale 1, Wednesbury 3, West Bromwich 3, Wolverhampton 16, and Worcester 2.

Other meetings that I have attended, not being included in the above, were the Grand Lodge I.O.G.T. at Brighton (Easter), the Principal and Congress Meetings of V.F.U. in London, Danielite, Anti-Vaccination, Anti-Vivisection, and the Vegetarian Society's Meetings at Manchester.

Literature. - At these meetings specimen copies of the Vegetarian, Vegetarian Review, and other publications of the V.F.U. were distributed, some 4 cwt. having been sent from the offices. Cookery books sold, those being in most demand are :- "Best Penny Cookery," and "Best Way to Begin," 2d. "Best Diet for a Working Man' running pretty close.

Formation of Societies.- On May 27th the Wolverhampton Vegetarian Society was formed with eight members and associates. The meetings have been held monthly at Mrs. Pearson's. I am sorry to say that at present it does not make much progress. Wolverhampton is very much behind in Vegetarian teaching, and, if possible, I would suggest that the V.F.U. make some special effort here during the present year. I have been present at each of the meetings since its formation.

The Vegetarian Societies at Birmingham and Coventry still continue to absorb a large portion of my time in secretarial duties.

New Experiments Tried.- I have also been acting as secretary to the new venture being made in Birmingham by the formation of a Vegetarian Hotel, Restaurant and Food Stores. After putting the claims of our cause before a meeting, the question has arisen in course of debate, "If, as you say, Vegetarianism is such a good thing, why don't you bring it more prominently before the public, by the formation, on a sound commercial basis, of a Vegetarian Cobden,' (the Cobden Hotel of Birmingham being known all over the country). To meet this demand, some of the most influential members of the Birmingham Vegetarian Society (knowing well the educational power, behind a well-conducted restaurant) met, and decided to start another branch or two in the city.

The scheme ultimately developed into the proposal to form a company to carry out the ideas of the promoters, and shortly Birmingham will be in the proud position of being possessed of the Pioneer Hotel, Restaurant and Food Stores, where every want of the Vegetarian, in shape of good accommodation, food stuffs and other requisites car be supplied. The building, we think, will be unique, as it will be heated from basement to attics by high pressure steam, which will also do the cooking. We hope that Vegetarians throughout the country will support us in this venture by becoming shareholders and helping on this propagandist work, which by its success will cause other large centres to copy. We had anticipated that the building would be opened during the Jubilee Year, but owing to unavoidable delay of the builders it will be well into 1898 before completion.

Such is my report of the past year. If the work accomplished merits your approval, I shall be encouraged for greater earnestness during the present year -Yours faithfully,

ALFRED H. SAUNDERS,
Provincial Secretary, 36, Heath Street, Birmingham.

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