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Leicester Secular Society

The first purpose-built secular hall, opened 1881

Secular Hall - An Appeal

Secular Hall is in serious need of repair and modernisation. By the end of July 2013 we need to raise £40,000 to improve facilities in the Hall.

A unique building

Secular Hall

The Secular Hall was built for Leicester Secular Society and opened in 1881. Apart from Conway Hall in London it is the only dedicated secularist building in the country. It has a proud history of hosting radical speakers from the atheist, humanist and radical tradition. It is Grade II listed, one of few surviving Victorian buildings in Leicester. It is in serious need of repair and modernisation so that it can remain our home and continue to serve the community into the future.

A mini-modernisation

We have devised an achievable ‘mini-modernisation scheme’ that addresses urgent needs on the ground-floor - where we and other organisations hold our public events.

Accessible WC
Accessible WC
Accessible WC
Accessible WC

Our scheme consists of:

  • installing a ground floor unisex accessible toilet for people with disabilities
  • getting rid of some unsightly partitioning
  • creating a new office/meeting room and secure store
  • creating a secondary fire exit
  • installing a hearing loop
  • refurbishing the ancient kitchen
  • providing new lighting and seating


Although much of the Hall remains unchanged from the 1880s, the present downstairs layout is not original. The hardboard partitions and office were a later alteration. When carrying out the work, it is our intention to respect the original character of the building, trying to restore features that have been lost over the years. Creating a new meeting room/office in the rear of the garage will require a doorway to be made. This will mean the loss of one of the mirrors which we hope can be repositioned elsewhere. There will be no loss of car parking spaces.

Back of library before refurbishment Impression: back of library after refurbishmant
The library now Impression as it might be

Proposed Layout

Extracts from the ground floor plan showing the position of the new accessible toilet and offices. The scheme will also revamp the kitchen. We are certain that these improvements will result in more lettings to community groups

Fire Exit location

Fire Exit

At present there is no secondary fire exit but the owner of the neighbouring building, Humberstone House, has kindly agreed we can have a fire exit door opening onto his car park. This will be a great boost to fire safety.

Please give what you can

Total Cost £65,000
We have £25,000
Donations needed £40,000

Ways to donate

  • send a cheque, payable to Leicester Secular Society, to Harry Perry, President, Secular Hall, 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester LE1 1WB
  • make a direct transfer into our account
  • Unity Trust Bank
    Sort Code 08-60-01
    Account: 20195380
    Ref: 'modernisation'
  • pay securely online by debit or credit card. You don't need a PayPal account.
  • The total inclusive projected cost is £65,000. The Society is able to contribute £25,000, so another £40,000 needs to be raised from external sources. If successful we will undertake the works in September of this year. As you would expect for such an unglamorous scheme, and for an organisation of our type, we are going to struggle to get support from statutory or grant-giving charities. So we will be largely reliant on donations from individual supporters like you. That is why we are asking for your help.

    Donated funds will be held in trust until spent on the planned project (or other modernisation, repair, improvement and equipment). If you wish to discuss this request please don’t hesitate to call our President, Harry Perry, on 01455 823570.

    Only a first step

    This scheme is only the first phase in modernising the Hall. In addition to day-to-day repairs, other work is needed. This includes:

    • cleaning and restoring the external façade to Humberstone Gate
    • bringing the upstairs meeting rooms back into use with new fire prevention measures
    • restoring the upstairs ballroom/lecture room back to its former glory
    • making the upper floors more accessible to people with disabilities
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    Leicester Secular Society Ltd is a company limited by guarantee Reg. No 06292639 with its registered office at 75 Humberstone Gate, Leicester LE1 1WB, and are domain names of Leicester Secular Society Ltd

    Page updated 26 March 2013 FF.