International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
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Mr. W. A. Sibly

IVU President 1947-53
IVU Past President 1953-59

The first mention currently known of Mr. Sibly, from Vegetarian Society records, is from a 1913 issue of The Vegetarian Messenger (Manchester) where he wrote report from school. At that time he was the Housemaster of Springfield House, Wycliffe College, a private boy's school in Gloucestershire. Mr. Sibly's father was the headmaster and by 1923 he had become the Head himself. Springfield House was entirely vegetarian by 1913, possibly earlier, and appears to have remained so until after Mr. Sibly's death in the late 1950s.

From reports of the 1923 IVU Congress in Sweden:

[from the journey] My cabin was shared by my excellent friend Dr. Ibarra, of Madrid, and an unknown gentleman who smoked strong Havanas. Two others of our party, Mr. W. A. Sibly and Mr. H. B. Amos, shared another cabin in the vicinity. . . . And here we are, at last, in Berlin - Headmaster W. A. Sibly, a life-vegetarian;

[at the Congress]. . .the Roll Call of the Delegates. Each rose as his or her name was called. The following is a full list : . . . W. A. Sibly (Headmaster, Wycliffe College), Stonehouse, Gloucestershire ; . . .

We give the full list of papers in alphabetical order :- . . . W. A. Sibly on "The Work Done at Wycliffe College" (with lantern slides), . . .

Some discussion arose as to the advisability of admitting Nature Healing Societies as members of the International Vegetarian Union. Mr. Schwartz, Miss Hompes, Dr. Oberdörfcr, Mr. Egerod, Mr. C. W. Forward, Mr. Schnitzer, Mr. Sibly, Mr. Noithenius and Mr. Hough took part.

photo from the 1923 Congress

From reports of the 1926 Congress, held in London:

Mr. W. A. SIBLY, MA. (OXON), Headmaster of Wycliffe College, Glos. , and author of the well-known pamphlet entitled "Vegetarianism and the Growing Boy", presided over the Friday afternoon session. He said that, subject to a few criticisms on points of detail, the New Health Society had approved of the vegetarian diet as practised at Wycliffe College. Dr. Hindhede (who was present that afternoon) had thought it should be more simple. But even if the boys could get sufficient nourishment from a potato diet, he doubted whether the boys themselves would consider it satisfactory! The average boy was not content to live on the simplest fare in the interests of science, nor was he prepared to submit to the proposition that his stomach should be regarded as a test tube. The vegetarian boys at Wycliffe College were able to hold their own in studies and athletics in competition with their meat-eating school-fellows.

The Work of Dr. Hindhede in Nutrition Research in its Relation to Vegetarianism - a paper by Mr. Oluf Egerod, read at the Congress. The refers to Mr. Sibly's work at Wycliffe and includes a reply from Mr. Sibly published in a later issue.

The Congress reports from 1929, 1932, 1935 and 1938 make no mention of Mr. Sibly, though it is possible that he attended one or more of them.

An informal Springfield group taken during the war when the School was moved temporarily to Lampeter, Cardiganshire.
(click for larger version)

By the time of the 1947 IVU Congress, Mr. Sibly had become President of IVU. It is not clear how this happened but there was probably an arrangement in 1946 to get IVU started again after the war. He was also, by this time, President of The Vegetarian Society (Manchester) which celebrated its centenary in 1947.

Mr. Sibly was re-elected IVU President during the Congress.


From reports of the 1950 Congress, held in The Netherlands:

[programme]8.0 p.m. Welcome by International Vegetarian Union President, W. A. Sibly, in the Congress Hall, and brief speeches by delegates.
8.0 p.m. Lantern Lecture by W. A. Sibly: " A Vegetarian Wanders Around the Commonwealth." Mr. Sibly will deal especially with Australasia.

The Congress at Oosterbeck as the President saw it - report by Mr. Sibly

THE 12th Congress of the International Vegetarian Union was held from the 11th to the 18th July, 1950, at The Pietersberg, Oosterbeek, Arnhem, Holland, under the Presidency of Mr. W. A. SIBLY, M.A.,J.P. (England).

Mr. SIBLY, as President of the Union, thanked Mr. Fischer and the Dutch Society for their warm welcome to Holland. He felt that in the adoption of vegetarianism lay the best hope for the future mankind, and he expressed the wish that the work of the Congress -during the following days might be a turning point in the history of the Union and an inspiration to all.

The officers of the I.V.U. were elected as follows--President: W. A. Sibly, M A. (Gt. Britain), . . .

The first lecture was given by the President, Mr. W. A. SIBLY, MA. (Great Britain) who described, with lantern illustrations, his recent visit to Australia and New Zealand. By means of a remarkably fine series of slides, taken from his own photographs, Mr. Sibly imparted much of the atmosphere in various parts of Australia and New Zealand, interspersed with the many personal contacts he had made among vegetarians and others two countries.

At the concluding session Mr. Sibly, said that the Congress had been a very successful and happy one and that it had been distinguished for the first time by the presence of delegates, as distinct from visitors, from North America and Canada. He referred to the Youth Camp which had been organized in conjunction with the Congress, and thanked the staff of The Pietersberg and our Dutch friends for their work in organizing the Congress and for their hospitality during the course of the week.

Minutes of the Executive Committee, October 22, 1950: Mr.W.A.Sibly in the chair, . . .

Minutes of the Executive Committee, July 17, 1951: Mr.W.A.Sibly in the chair, . . Mr.Sibly asked that as much work as possible be passed on from the Hon.Secretary to the Secretary to avoid duplication. . . . [refers to the recent appointment of a salaried secretary]

Minutes of the Executive Committee, Easter, 1952: President W.A.Sibly in the chair. . . . Mr.Sibly opened proceedings welcoming members expressing special pleasure at the attendance of Mrs.Gasque & appreciating the beautiful location chosen for the meeting. . . . Mr Sibly stated his intention of retiring from the Presidency at the Congress in Sweden feeling that this honour should be shared with others. It was agreed that the Committee should make the following nominations at the Congress - Past President Mr W.A.Sibly; President Mrs Clarence Gasque

From reports of the 1953 Congress, held in Sweden:

. . .Mr. W. A. Sibly, who showed us breath-taking pictures of his wide travels, . .

An unexpected and highly entertaining stage show was put on by Mrs. Gasque and Mr. Sibly, when the former, on behalf of all those present and many more absent, after a most gracious speech, presented our retiring President with a token of our affection and sincere regard for one who has done as much for the vegetarian movement as any living soul. The spontaniety of the act and the -natural deep feeling that stirred these two great leaders brought -warm and vociferous response from the audience. (shown in the photo)

Officers of the International Vegetarian Union - elected at Sigtuna
. . .Past President, Mr. W. A. Sibly, MA., J.P., England. . .
Executive Committee, . . . Mr. W. A. Sibly, . . .

Minutes of the Executive Committee, October 18, 1953: Present - Past President Mr W.A.Sibly . . . It was agreed to ask Mr Jones to surrender his office as Assistant Treasurer and the Mr.Geoffrey Rudd should take over this responsibility. Mr.Sibly generously offered to visit Mr.Jones personally and communicate this decision in the most diplomatic and friendly manner. This offer was warmly accepted. . . . Mr.Sibly with the warm support of all present ecpressed thanks of the meeting to the President, Mrs.Gasque, for presiding so ably, for permitting the meeting to be held at her house and for the excellent lunch that preceded the meeting.

Minutes of the Executive Committee, May 1-2, 1954: 1st May Meeting of Finance Committee
- Chairman: Past President W.A.Sibly, M.A. 2nd May Meeting of the International Executive - Opening remarks by Chairman, Past President W.A.Sibly, M.A. . . . Deputy President Egerod . . then invited Mr Sibly to take the chair. . . . Mr Sibly expressed his surprise that vegetarian ideas would be welcome in Russia. . . . Mr Sibly asked for financial details for such an extensive plan . . . Mr Sibly asked for financial details for such an extensive plan . . . Mr Sibly expressed his veiws that Mrs Walker should travel with the secretary on his long tours. . . . with thanks to the able chairmanship of Mr Sibly, the meeting closed.

From reports of the 1955 Congress in Paris:

Mr. Sibly, on the left, shortly before the Paris Congress

Officials Elected. The following were re-elected for a two year term of office :- . . . PAST PRESIDENT-Mr. W. A. Sibly, M.A., J.P.. (Great Britain). . .

Minutes of the Business Sessions . . . Present: . . . Mr.W.A.Sibly MA, JP

Minutes of the Executive Committee, June 30, 1956: Present: - . . . Mr W.A.Sibly, Past President (Great Britain) . . . Chairman - Mr Egerod asked that Mr Sibly should take the chair and this was approved and accepted by Mr.Sibly . . . Appointment of an Honorary Secretary. The following were empowered to appoint an Hon.Secretary for the time being. Messrs W.A.Sibly, James Hough & G.L.Rudd. . . .

Minutes of the Executive Committee, Sepember 27, 1957: Present :- Messrs W.Arthur Sibly, . . .Present :- Messrs W.Arthur Sibly, . . .It was agreed that Mr W.A.Sibly, the Past President, and Mr Harry Harris, the General Secretary, should attend the Indian Congress, . . .

From reports of the 1957 Congress, held in India:

[pre-Congress] President's Eastern Tour
We welcome back our widely travelled President, Mr. W.A. Sibly, M.A., J.P., [this refers to The Vegetarian Society President, but he was also Past-President of IVU] who has been touring the far East and was entertained in Bombay and Delhi by organizers of the World Vegetarian Congress in India. He congratulated the humanitarians of India on staging the November Congress in the home of vegetarianism, and regretted that in official Indian circles there is a bias towards a meat diet. He thought this would greatly affect Indian culture and health adversely. He also deprecated the export of monkeys for vivisectional purposes in the West.
Mr. Sibly returns much impressed by the enthusiasm prevailing in India for the cause of vegetarianism and the principle of non-violence.

Our President in India
Mr. W. A. Sibly, M.A., J.P., President of The Vegetarian Society, welcomed
at Bombay, when a party was given in his honour at 'I'he Purohit Hotel by
Mr. Maganlal Shah (second from right in the front row).

Mr W.A.Sibly, M.A., J.P., in Delhi, with Mr J.N.Mankar [centre]
and Mr A.L.Jindal, Secretary of the Delhi Vegetarian Society

Congress Snaps
Mr W.A.Sibly, M.A.,J.P., being garlanded by Mrs Mehra Vakil; and the Venerable M.V.Dharmawara, Buddhist advisor to the King of Cambodia, with Mrs Rukmini Devi Arundale, Chairman of the Congress Reception Committee.

[during the Congress] At the inaugural dinner, our President [of the Vegetarian Society] (Mr. W. A. Sibly, M.A., J.P.) and your secretary found themselves to be the principal speakers - a quite momentous occasion, and we were permitted to make a presentation of our book "Why Kill for Food?" to Dr. Prasad.

Minutes of the Business Meetings: . . . Present: . . .Messrs W.A.Sibly . . .
Election and Re-election of Officers: The following were approved for a tern of office:- . . . First Past President: Mr.W.A.Sibly (England) . ..

Minutes of the Executive Committee, May 9, 1958: PRESENT: . . . , Mr W.A.Sibly (Past President), . . . Mr Egerod formally opened the meeting and asked Mr Sibly to take the Chair. This was agreed. . . . A letter from Mrs Gasque addressed to some Members of the Committee was read and one from Mrs Gasque to Mr Sibly dated January 27th reporting her ilness to be worse and that she did not expect to be in England in 1958. . .

Minutes of the Executive Committee, May 10, 1959: - Mr. Sibly was not present and not mentioned.

From the reports of the 1960 Congress, held in Germany:

We have also been saddened by the death of our first Past President, Mr. W.A. Sibly, M.A., J.P., who was a mainstay of The Union for as long as most of us can recall.

  • see also: A Memoir - from the Wycliffe Journal, shortly after his death