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Vegetarian Societies in the United Kingdom

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), June 1875, p223:



The Vegetarian Society, as I have hitherto understood, has been one and undivided, and its members, though scattered over the country, have always looked to the common centre of Manchester as the head-quarters of the movement. Now that the associate-clause has been adopted, and a much greater scope given for the promulgation of our principles, there seems to be a feeling that someting more is required in larger towns than merely a local secretary. The classified list of members which you have lately commenced to issue, has materially assisted in bringing those interested in the work together; and our friends in the metropolis, acting on this basis, are attempting to organise themselves under the title of "The London Vegetarian Society".

Now however desirable this may be, I think it is a matter for serious consideration whether such schemes of extension should not have their origin at the fountain-head., and whether the question should not be first laid before a general meeting of the Society, before any proceedings are taken which would have the slightest tendency to lessen the concentrated working power of the whole body. "Union is strength," and it occurs to me that in this respect we have much to learn from our from friends who constitute the Independent order of Good Templars, and its truly military compactness; but it might not be out of place to suggest that our Executive take into consideration the propriety of innaugurating some such systematic arrangement in the Vegetarian body, so that the friends of dietetic reform, when in any locality they find themselves sufficiently numerous should have it in their power to obtain permission from head-quarters to organise a branch society, which shall be governed by the same laws and called by the same name as the parent body.

Of course such an undertaking would involve many changes in the illustrious and time honoured "Vegetarian Society;" but, like other institutions, of it is to flourish, it must be abreast of the age in which it exists. In my opinion the sooner a reform is effected in this direction the better. If local bodies standing on an independent footing, and presenting the anomaly of having many of their members connected with two societies, both professing to work in the same direction, be allowed to spring up, the practical efficiency of the Vegetarian movement will only be impaired. If our principles are to be successful and aggresive, we must not divide our ranks, but move forward, shoulder to shoulder, and acting on this principle we shall have good grounds for the hope that the triumphs of the future will eclipse all the achievements of the past. Hoping that some of our able friends will work out the suggestions here briefly hinted at.

- I am, yours very truly, A MEMBER.
- London, 11th May, 1875

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), October 1877, p175:

LONDON. - The committee appointed to taks steps for the establishment of a Dietetic Reform Society, holding periodical meetings in London, has resolved to proceed with the enrolment of members, and to invite subscriptions towards preliminary expenses. The fee for members has been fixed at £1 1s. per annum, payable half yearly in advance. - R. N. Sheldrick, Hon. Sec. pro tem.

[the same issue has notes about the formation of a 'Dietetic Reform Club' - this being a building with accommodation, dining room etc. The connection with the above society is not clear though Mr. Sheldrick chaired the innaugural Club conference but they appear to have had separate committees.]

From The Dietetic Reformer and Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), September 1885, p283:


We are glad to give notice of the following important development in the constitution of the Vegetarian Society ; The Food Reform Society was incoporated with our own on the 29th September, and a branch of the Vegetarian Society is to be established in the Metropolis. This will involve a great increase of responsibilty, and will require an increased outlay both at once and in the future. We must appeal to all friends interested to enable us to meet it. We trust that those who have been subscribing to the two organisations, will continue to contribute to the one Society what they formerly gave to two, and that those who have been supporting the Food Reform Society will kindly transfer their generous helo to the Society which undertakes the work of that body for the future.

From The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester, England), May 1888, p125:

Secession of the London Auxilliary. - We take the following resolution, passed by the London Auxilliary of The Vegetariam Society, from an article entitled "Constitution of the London Vegetarian Society," which appears in The Vegetarian for April 21, 1888: "That the Vegetarian Society (London) regrets the refusal of The Vegetarian Society (Manchester) to reconsider the basis of agreement which has hitherto regulated their respective relations. In consequence of this refusal, the London Society is reluctantly compelled to abandon its present position as an auxilliary of The Vegetarian Society (Manchester), and will henceforth work as the London Vegetarian Society. The London Vegetarian Society will adopt their own rules and policy, but will desire, as heretofore, to work in harmony with the Vegetarian Society."

From this resolution it will be seen that the London Auxilliary has separated itself from the parent society by which it was established between two and three years since, about which we shall have something further to say. Will all members, associates, and subscribers of The Vegetarian Society kindly, in future, send their subscriptions, donations, orders, and all communcations direct to what is now the only office of The Vegetarian Society, 75, Pricess Street, Manchester.