Over a 130 years ago Secular Hall was built as the home of Leicester Secular Society and has always played host to numerous organisations seeking a comfortable but economical place to meet. Our online calendar lists forthcoming lectures and meetings at the Hall and other selected events of interest. We are determined for Secular Hall to remain a venue of choice, but major regeneration work is needed.
As a previous President, Allan Hayes has said:
Secular Hall is one of the most significant Victorian buildings in the city. It deserves conservation as part of our architectural heritage and for the contribution that it can make to the regeneration of Humberstone Gate. This has been recognised by English Heritage, the Heritage Lottery Fund and the City Council.
Many know it because of having attended the Leicester Karate Club,
the dance classes of the ABC Ballroom
and the activities of other organisations that have used the Hall, such as the
There is a shop on the ground floor of the building that was originally a secular book shop, then became the booking hall for coach trips and then reverted to a book shop. It is now occupied by a pick and mix sweet shop "Sweety Shakes"
As the home of Leicester Secular Society, the oldest secular society in the world, the Hall rises to national heritage significance: a place where the battle for human rights and equality has been fought, where William Morris, Charles Bradlaugh, Annie Besant, George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and Tony Benn and many other campaigners have spoken.
Secular Hall is at 75 Humberstone Gate Leicester LE1 1WB
Documents and Plans
- Ned Newitt prepared a document reviewing the condition of the Hall(pdf 4.6Mb) for an HLF bid
- RH Partnerships Options Assessment (pdf 2.5Mb) including outline plans presented by Helen Axworthy to a meeting of LSS members, 31 January 2010.
We welcome contributions to the discussion of the future of the Secular Hall and the Society. You can send your views to the Development Group (contact details above), or bring them to any Leicester Secular Society meeting.
Alternatively, if you would like them to appear in our journal, the Leicester Secularist, send them for consideration to newsed @ leicestersecularsociety . org . uk (close spaces).
If you are a member of Leicester Secular Society (join here) with an email address, you can also follow, contribute to, or initiate discussions in our members' forum (a Google Group for LSS members only). Email treasurer @ leicestersecularsociety . org . uk (close spaces) to join the forum.
More about the HallArticle from the Leicester Mercury on the completion of the Hall in 1881.
Article in Humanist Heritage.
Five busts by Ambrose Louis Vago decorate the façade
More about the busts.
Two old prints and a recent photo
Josiah Gimson, the main benefactor, chose a young innovative architect, W Larner Sugden to design the Hall, which opened in 1881, 30 years after the foundation of the Society.
- Inside Secular Hall: Robert Ashby, Chair of the British Humanist Association took these photographs.
- The hidden tiles in the Main Hall.
- Photos by our former webmaster George Jelliss.
- The Gimson Family (Josiah was the Hall's main benefactor) from Leicester City Council.
- More on the History of Leicester Secular Society and Secular Hall.
Page updated 14/1/2017 JRC