Meeting Places

Humanists have very few buildings of their own in the UK. Two examples are Leicester Secular Society and Conway Hall in Holborn, London; both are large buildings with many rooms of various sizes suitable for meetings and lectures.

Leicester Secular Society’s building is particularly interesting. Built in 1881, partly because of the difficulties atheists and freethinkers had in finding places to meet, its façade features busts of Socrates, Jesus, Voltaire, Thomas Paine and Robert Owen.

Conway Hall was opened in 1929 when the South Place Ethical Society needed a new home. The Society wanted “a dignified and commodious building, which it is hoped may become the Headquarters of the Ethical Movement in the British Isles, and also provide an open platform for speakers from any part of the world.” Conway Hall remains a centre for free speech and progressive ideas. It holds a library of free-thought and hosts the world’s longest running continuous series of chamber music concerts, which began as secular alternatives to church-going on Sundays. Ethical Societies still thrive in many cities in the USA, where there is also an Ethical Union based in New York, with a slogan “Deed before creed”.

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