Articles in the category activist

Peter Annet

Peter Annet was a freethinker writer – one of seven people listed in the Newgate Calendar as utterers of blasphemy and sedition. At the age of 68 in 1762 he was convicted at the King’s Bench, Westminster, of blasphemous remarks on the five books of Moses and sentenced to Newgate prison for one month, and […]

Moncure Daniel Conway

(17 March 1832 – 15 November 1907) Moncure Daniel Conway was an American abolitionist, Unitarian clergyman, and author. Growing up Conway’s father was a wealthy farmer, a slaveholder, and county judge in Virginia. Both parents were Methodists, but formerly Episcopal and Presbyterian. Moncure’s opposition to slavery came from his mother and from his boyhood experiences. […]

Douglas Adams

(11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) Douglas Adams was a well known writer and environmental activist.  He considered himself Richard Dawkins’ first convert and subsequently was a well known atheist. Adams was born in Cambridge in 1952, where he would also attend University, graduating with a BA in English Literature in 1974 from St. John’s […]

National Secular Society

The National Secular Society (NSS) is a British campaigning organisation that promotes secularism. The NSS was founded in 1866 with Charles Bradlaugh as President and Charles Watts as secretary. There were a number of secularist groups around the UK and they joined up to coordinate and strengthen their campaigns. The word secularism was coined by […]

Annie Besant

(1 October 1847 – 20 September 1933) Annie Besant was a prominent Theosophist, civil rights activist and speaker for the National Secular Society. Born Annie Wood in Clapham, London, her parents were of Irish origin. At the age of nineteen in 1867 she married an Anglican clergyman, Frank Besant (younger brother of Walter Besant the novelist, historian […]

Sydney Gimson

(1860 – 1938) Sydney Ansell Gimson was president of Leicester Secular Society from 1883 until shortly before his death. His father was Josiah Gimson, prosperous secularist and the main force behind the building of Leicester’s Secular Hall. Sydney wrote Random Recollections of the Leicester Secular Society in 1932, which is now in the Wigston Records […]

John M Robertson

(14 November 1856 – 5 January 1933) John Mackinnon Robertson was a journalist, secularist and Member of Parliament. Born on the Isle of Arran. He learnt journalism in Edinburgh but soon settled in London, and worked in the Secularist Movement, editing the National Reformer after the death of Charles Bradlaugh. He was MP for Tyneside […]

Harriet Law

(1831 – ?) Harriet Law was an active Marxist and secularist. Law was born in Essex an had a Baptist upbringing and became a Sunday School teacher. When G. J. Holyoake spoke at Philpot Street, Whitechapel, in the East End of London, she tried to argue against him in defence Christianity, but in 1855 ‘saw […]

Frederick James Gould

(1855 – 1938) Frederick James (F.J.) Gould was an educationalist, councillor, secularist and humanist. Born in Brighton but brought up in London, Gould became a chorister at Windsor, and a religious teacher, but left this comfortable position to teach in the East End of London where he tried to reform religious teaching. He became involved with Charles Watts […]

Francis Ridley

(22 February 1897 – 27 March 1994) Francis Ambrose Ridley was an active Marxist and secularist. He was a weekly denizen of Speaker’s Corner at Hyde Park in London for 40 years, from 1925 onward, and was editor of The Freethinker 1951-1954, and President of the National Secular Society 1951-1963. Ridley had strong connections with Leicester Secular Society, since there are […]