The Humanist Heritage project

The Humanist Heritage project aims to produce accessible and engaging resources that allow people to find out more about historical figures – and the places in the United Kingdom and Ireland associated with them – who have influenced humanist and secularist thinking or demonstrated humanist ideals in their lives.

Criteria for inclusion on Humanist Heritage website

People included on the site must be deceased and have a connection with a place in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland or the Republic or Ireland. They must either be humanists who have made a notable contribution to the world in any field; or people of any religion or belief who have clearly contributed to humanism and/or secularism as ideas.

Contributing to humanist and secular ideas could be through direct activism or by questioning religious ideas or the place of religions in society though science or philosophy for example.

Website audience

The website is aimed at the interested layperson, teachers, local humanist groups and historians.


Humanist Heritage is underpinned by 5 principles:

1) Relevance

Resources should emphasise the connections with the UK and Ireland and with humanism and secularism

The project will emphasise the relevance of the people, events and ideas described, to the world today

2) Interest

Resources should be easy and enjoyable to read. They should make sense to people unfamiliar with humanism, secularism, the UK or Ireland but remain interesting to people who are more knowledgeable

It will use different media to communicate effectively

3) Inclusiveness

…of different non-religious groups and beliefs

…of people with religious beliefs when they have made a contribution to humanist heritage

…of contributors, relying on user-led content and Creative Commons licences

4) Fairness

Humanist Heritage should present history as impartially as possible

Humanist Heritage does not assume that being a humanist in itself is a good thing although it certainly assumes that many humanists have made an important contribution to British and Irish society and that secularism is an important idea that underpins modern concepts of equality

5) Courtesy

Respectful of people and their beliefs, even if there is disagreement


The following individuals have made Humanist Heritage possible.


Hamish MacPherson


Bob Churchill

Project group

Bob Churchill, Andrew Copson, Sophia Deboick, Stefan Dickers, Jim Herrick, George Jelliss, Elizabeth Lutgendorff, Hamish MacPherson


Andrew Copson, Sophia Deboick, Stefan Dickers, James Gray, Jim Herrick, George Jelliss, Elizabeth Lutgendorff, Hamish MacPherson


Individual photographs are credited wherever appropriate.

Graphic Design

Elsie Lam