The Vegetarian Society archive is held at the main office at Parkdale and houses the journals of the Society from the very first to the most recent.
The minutes of the Society’s procedings throughout its history, as well as many texts relating to the development of the vegetarian movement, are also to be found in our library. There are some items of special interest such as letters written by author George Bernard Shaw and Ghandi.
Archive of booksThe archive of the journals in particular, offer the researcher a rich resource for tracing the individual histories of key figures within the vegetarian movement. The development of the vegetarian press, the debates of the age, the political figures and literary and industrialist supporters from early Victorian times through to the global vegetarian movement of the twentieth century can all be traced in remarkable detail. Vegetarian recipes, food products and services are all vividly illustrated throughout the text providing a unique insight into domestic vegetarian life.
Visitors to our archive have a wide range of interests from Victorian Britain to veganism, cookery history to family genealogy. Enquirers come from all around the globe and have recently included history undergraduates, Phd students, and even a direct descendent of John Wright of Bolton who was present when Rev William Cowherd gave his first sermon advocating a vegetarian diet in 1809. Recently people have travelled from as far afield as Indonesia and the Yukon, Canada to make use of the archive materials.
The archive project
Though the archive in its present state provides a wealth of interesting and important documentation, a comprehensive catalogue of its contents is currently unavailable. We are now in the process of developing the Archive Project and are hoping to gain funding to make significant improvements and to allow much greater public access to the documents, journals and the image library that we own.