International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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4th International Congress 1897
London, England

from The Vegetarian (London), September 25th, 1897:

International Vegetarian Congress

The Exhibition

At the Cookery and Food Exhibition held in May this year at the Niagara Hall, the chief difficulty was to find the stalls which held theVegetarian products, but at the Exhibition opened at the Memorial Hall, on September 13th, one would have tried in vain to find a stall which was not in some way or other connected with Vegetarianism.

After a few words from Mr. Arnold Hills the Exhibition was then declared open by Lady Gwendoline Herbert [right], who was then conducted round the exhibits by Mr. Josiah Oldfield.

To those interested even slightly in the food question each exhibition must have contained much of interest, and one could only marvel at the ingenuity which had produced the various articles, whether they were Vegetarian sausages or Vegetarian boots.

Perhaps the most interesting exhibit was that provided by the Oriolet Hospital. In the famous "Ivy Leaf Cot" there was a real, live child whose fat, glowing cheeks demonstrated that he was only a temporary inmate for that occasion only. Chief among the exhibits were models of things not actually at Oriolet, but which are "wanted" there, things such as a bronchitis tent and kettle, hot-water bottles, etc.

Mr. W. A. McDonald had on show some of his "Natural Ration" cakes, and exhibited the constituents of the same in various stages of manufacture.

The new vegetable fat, "Albene," was largely displayed. This production is entirely without both taste or smell, and is already being highly spoken of among Vegetarians.

People interested in Brititsh agriculture gravitated towards the stall erected by the British Produce Supply Association, of Winchelsea House. The Association's "Cable" brand on articles warrants their goodness.

Madame Veigelé's stall was an interesting one with its innumerable Vegetarian foods, even more interesting was a chat with Madame herself.

That whole meal can be advantageously used for all kinds of pastry, even the most delicate, the "Cyclone" Flour Company's stall of exhibits very effectively demonstrated.

Mr. W. G. Smith had a big show of his Vegetarian soap and candles ; the former, particularly, ought to be largely in use.

In India and things Indian there is a world of glamour, and talking with either of the Messrs. Veerasawmy was one of the features of the exhibition. Especially delightful was it to handle Moong dal, curry, chutney, rice, and other Eastern productions while talking with a denizen of the country which produced them.

Bilson's is a name to conjure with in the Vegetarian world, and the show of dried fruits and nuts this firm had on show was worthy of the attention it attracted. The combined water-distiller and fruit-stewer which was on view was especially notable.

Most Vegetarians are acquainted with the merits of "Nucoline", and it was, consequently, like meeting an old friend to light upon the exhibit containing specimens of the article.

A glass in a far corner was well worth a peep. It was labelled "Harris & Co.'s cakes," and contained Vegetarian sausages, Vegetarian lamb cutlets, a sample steak, savoury patties, Melton Mowbray pies and so forth, but on enquiry on found that it was exhibited by the enterprising manager of the Ideal Restaurant, Mr. Relf.

The London Food Reform Company showed productions which caused the person interested in food reform to linger long by this exhibit while the merits of Granose, Nuttose, Nut Butter and a host of other things were explained.

Among other exhibits which ought to be dwelt on at length did space permit was a stall containing specimens of "Vagos" bread, "Vitol", a substitute for cod liver oil, Vegetarian crockery and Vegetarian boots. Dr. Nichols' Food Company exhibited their specialities, and the very nicely arranged "Hovis" stall was so attractive that great inroads were made into its contents each day.


After the obect lesson of the exhibits in the Library, the Congress next received oral instruction in the cult of Vegetarianism in the Board Room. The President, Mr. A. F. Hills, after welcoming the assembled delegates, congratulated the meeting upon the great strides which the Vegetarian movement had made since the last London Congress, held seven years ago, though the propaganda, even within the United Kingdom, was of far older origin, and the jubilee of its inception at Ramsgate had already been celebrated earlier during the present year. The parent society in Manchester had radiated its influence not only throughout England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, but throughout almost the whole of the civilised world.Societies for the promotion of humane dietetic reform had sprung up on all sides, London alone boasting as many as eight, while in Birmingham, Brighton, Bolton, Bath and Somerset, Devon and Exeter, Liverpool, Leicester, Manchester, Portsmouth, and in fact, in all the chief centres of commerce, societies existed or were being formed, while Scotland and Ireland could show flourishing organizations, each working according to its own methods and necessities. A new and most valuable sub-section of the work was the Vegetarian Athletic and Cycling Club, carried on by Mr. Light, which brought together the younger members, and enabled them very effectively to prove that a Vegetarian need not inevitably be, in Ophelia's case, "something stricken of the brain," whose ways were strangely eccentric, including the wearing of long hair and the eating of potatoes. Mr. Barclay, as the Scottish half-mile champion, was doing much to destroy that wall of unreasoning prejudice which looked suspiciously on Vegetarianism and regarded it as an unsuitable diet for muscular exertions. Another interesting development was the Women's Vegetariaan Union, which, though so recently founded, now numbered over three hundred members. The children too, were not left untaught, and Mrs. Boult's Ivy Society was one of the most promising signs of the future of Vegetarianism. The perplexing problem of Hospitals for the sick Vegetarians - for even they were occasionally sick - were being practically solved by Dr. Allinson's Hospital and by that of Oriolet at Loughton. The commercial aspects were then briefly alluded to and proven to be additional cogent arguments in favour of the system for whose furtherance the Congress was convened. In hs closing remarks, Mr. Hills said that Vegetarianism deserved consideration from three separate points of view. Firstly, as a religion it claimed from mankind the practice of obedience to the law and of love towards all sentient life. A glance at comparative theology would show that the inculcation of mercy and duty formed a common basis of the doctrines of all great religious thinkers. As a philosophy, Vegetarianism met some of the most abstruce problems connected with the correlation of conduct to the circumstances of the universe. As a science Vegetarianism was daily disseminating the profoundest truths for the regulation of health and the overcoming of disease. Mr. Hills undoubtedlt believed that Vegetarianism afforded a brodge over the apparent dualism, the mysterious apparent opposition between the good and the evil within the nature of mankind, and that by the exclusion of meat from the human dietary it would be possible to "starve the devil and nourish the angel," and so successfully pursue the path to "Paradie Regained."

Vegetarians Unbending

The polyglotic Conversazione which followed, and which was held in the Library, was thoroughly successful. Conversation, the titular object of the entertainment, was only interupted during necessary "intervals" for the songs, among which Mrs. J. Corkran Darlison's sympathetic treatment of Wattheu's "Gleaner's Slumber Song," and Miss Samuel's "Kathleen Mavourneen," were specially noteworthy ; the exhibition, too, created the keenest interest.

Mr. Hills - though again acting as Chairman, and on this occasion also representing the committee as host - excused himself from making his speech promised, and prevailed upon the Rev. James Clark, of Manchester, to act as his substitute. Mrs. McDouall also gave a brief and very graceful speech.

After the interval for refreshments (provided, under Mr. Relf's personal supervision, by the "Ideal" Restaurant, Tottenham Court Road), Miss Wolf von Sandau gave an unhackneyed - even an inspired - rendering of Chopin's Scherzo in E, her clean, finished technique giving gradual development to the rapturously weird blitheness ad tragedy threaded through the intricate meshes of the composition.