The Life and Legacy of Charles Bradlaugh

Sunday 15th March – now CANCELLED

We have also recently sadly learnt that Deborah Lavin who was going to give the talk has died of cancer. She opened the National Secular Society’s Secularism 2016 conference with a talk focusing on Charles Bradlaugh and the early years of the NSS which he founded.

See here for a youtube recording of the NSS talk and here for a tribute to Deborah Lavin.

Keith Hayward has written a fascinating paper comparing the two Humanist heroes Charles Bradlaugh and Charles Darwin

Brief background on Charles Bradlaugh.

Charles Bradlaugh was a controversial radical activist and atheist. He founded and then for some thirty years headed the National Secular Society, the largest radical organisation in the country in the second half of the 19th century. Elected Liberal M.P. for Northampton in 1880, Bradlaugh battled the Liberal government for six years before he was finally allowed to take his seat, so great was the opposition to his atheism even among Liberals.

Yet there was far more to Bradlaugh. Famously he stood trial alongside the flamboyant Annie Besant for promoting birth control; while in parliament, he became known as the “Member for India” for his championship of the mega-colony. Hugely admired, Bradlaugh was also hugely hated yet his story has inspired generations of secularists and humanists and is well worth re-telling (with some additions).

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