The Friends (Quakers) Vegetarian Society was founded in May 1902.
Historical notes marking the Centenary:
1902-2002 - compiled by the FVS Secretary.
The July 1908 issues of the Vegetarian Messenger
(VSUK magazine) carried a full report of the Friends annual meeting which
included the following:
Friends Vegetarian Society. - ... The Society decided to be
represented at the International Federation of Vegetarian Societies
to be held in Dresden in August, at the time of the Esperanto Congress.
... at the end of 1906 the Society had a membership of about 100
This year 34 new members have joined.
The Friends Secretary at that time was Mr J A Gill, and
he was almost certainly responsible for the decision to hold the first
IVU meeting in Dresden. Mr Gill was a keen Esperantist and therefore already
planning to visit Dresden, and he knew that quite a lot of other esperantists
were also vegetarians and that the Esperanto Congresses always make sepcial
provisions for vegetarians (Tolstoy
was the Hon.President in 1908). He also knew that there was an active
Dresden Vegetarian Society.
The October 1908 issue of the Vegetarian Messenger
reporting on the creation of IVU in Dresden, mentions "Mr. J. A.
Gill, Tunbridge Wells, representing the Friends' Vegetarian Society"
In November 1908 the same magazine reported the creation
of 'International Union of Vegetarian Esperantists', no doubt Mr Gill
had some involvement.
In December 1908 the Messenger included the following:
Vegetarianism and Language. - Mr. J. Arthur Gill writes :- "At
the recent International Congress in Dresden there was opportunity for
observing the part which language can play in the spread of a movement..
The present writer is an Esperantist and a vegetarian who attempted
to attend both series of meetings. After one of the vegetarian meetings,
he found a German regarding him with friendly eyes, and at once tried
to fall into conversation with him. But no! after each had cudgelled
his brains for a few stray words in the other's language, the whole
and sole result was the following scene : - 'Vegetarian? Yes!' 'Vegetarian?
Yes!' violent and delighted handshake. When this had been repeated two
or three times, one began to feel a need for further details, and the
interest waned. How different was the case with a charming vegetarian,
who, oh joy! Spoke also Esperanto! It was a noticeable thing, too, that
whereas the day meetings consisted largely of just the delegates who
had come to lay down the foundations of the future International Vegetarian
Federation, the four vegetarian restaurants were filled day by day with
Esperantists, who were actually vegetarians, or that way inclined. What
delightful places those Dresden restaurants are! Picture a little group
of half-a-dozen sitting round a table and vastly amused with everything
around, and especially one another, all speaking with interest and animation.
From the conversation it was impossible to learn of their nationality,
yet one would be a Finn, another a Tyrolese, another a Frenchman, and
so on. The function of the Internacia Unicio de Esperantistaj Vegetaranoj,
is to supply services to vegetarians, through the instrumentality of
their International language. If any vegetarians in England, for instance,
desires to travel, or desires to correspond, he will write to Sinjoro
R.de-Ladevèze, Hamburgo, Altonaer starsse, 67 III, who will give
him addresses of vegetarian restaurants, pensions, etc., or will put
him into communication with kindred spirits for the interchange if ideas."
After this very active involvement at the first IVU Congress, there is
no mention of the Friends Vegetarian Society in the reports of any subsequent
Congress. The Society does appear on the lists of members for 1977 and
79 (the only surviving lists).
The Friends Vegetarian Society today does not have website or an email
Friends Vegetarian Society, 9 Astons Close, Woods Lane, Amblecote,
Nr. Stourbridge, West Midlands DY5 2QT, UK.
If you have any more information about anything on this page please contact
John Davis - firstname.lastname@example.org