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History of the Society and of Freethought

Biographical Notes
b.< 1649b.1850-1899
SocratesTom Barclay (in Leicester Secularist No.1, October 2008)
Jesus ?G. W. Foote
The Gimsons
b.1650-1799F. J. Gould
VoltaireF. A. Ridley
Thomas PaineJ. M. Robertson
Robert OwenWilliam Wilber
Richard CarlileE. H. Hassell
Charles DarwinAlice Hawkins (Suffragette)
Charles BradlaughChapman Cohen
Mary Anne Evans (George Eliot)Peter Miller
W. H. Holyoak
G. J. Holyoake
Harriet Law
William Morris
James Thomson
Michael Wright (in LSS Newsletter, May 2008)>
History of the Society


Records Office: There are some records of the Society which were deposited at the Leicester Record Office, Wigston, in 1968. The following list can also be viewed on five microfilm rolls kept by the Society, made in 1981.

There are other records in the British Library and at the Bishopsgate Institute Library, both in London. Details to be included in due course we hope - if you have such information, please let us know! Contact details on our home page.

More recently Gillian Lighton has taken forward a project 'For Truth's Sake' - The Story of Leicester Secular Society and Its Hall sponsored by the Heritage Lottery Fund which has a website with further material.

This inaccurate representation of Secular Hall is from a framed ink drawing, undated and by an unknown artist.

Leicester Secular Society

(before conversion to a limited company in 2007)

Presidents and Vice Presidents 1889-2007

The following lists of presidents and vice-presidents was compiled by Fred Lee in 2000 and is Appendix A in his draft thesis "Secularism from the Victorian Age to the Twenty-first Century; The History of the Leicester Secular Society."

1889Sydney Gimsonnone recorded
1899..William Wilber
1900William WilberSydney Gimson
1901Sydney GimsonWiliam Wilber
1914..E. Pinder
1916..W. H. Scott
1921..T. Cater
1922..F. J. Smith
1923..E. Harry Hassell
1939E. Harry HassellA. J. Essex
1940..J. Cooper
1943..J. Abbott
1945..J. Cartwright
1949G. A. Kirk..
1951..L. Croxtall
1952..J. Cartwright
1957..L. Hall
1973*A. Davis..
1974..L. Croxtall
1976..John O'Higgins
1977..Peter Miller
1980Peter MillerL. Croxtall
1982..D. G. Parsons
1984..Anthony Barron
1985..D. G. Parsons
1986..Paul Harding
1987Rupert Halfhide..
1988Paul HardingRupert Halfhide
1989..B. A. Wood
1990..Lyn Hurst
1992..B. A. Wood
1993B. A. Wood*none elected
1994Frederic S. Leenone elected
1994..Bob Hall
2000Lyn HurstMichael Gerard

[Former] Rules of the Leicester Secular Society

These Rules have been superseded by the Memorandum and Articles of Association as indicated above. They are presented for historical interest.

Rules of Leicester Secular Society (as amended in 2001)


* Notes: (a) From 1973 the election of officers seems to have been moved to the mid-year so the dates of end of one presidency and start of another are given as the same year. (b) When I [George Jellis] asked Woody Wood to confirm these dates he denied that he was ever President, so there seems to have been some confusion in the 1990s. [Interviewed in 2013 for the For Truth's Sake lottery funded (All Our Stories) project, Woody explained that he regarded himself as a caretaker president as he only served one year].

Limited Company 2007 - ...

On 26 June 2007 Leicester Secular Society became a Company Limited by Guarantee, Reg.No.06292639, with its registered office at Secular Hall.

President and Chair

Year of
2007Lyn HurstEleanor S. Davidson
2008Allan HayesMichael Gerard
2009Allan HayesMike Burden
2010Emma ChungMike Burden
2011Michael GerardNick Matthews
2012 Harry PerryNick Matthews (retired Feb 2013)
Eleanor Davidson (co-opted)
2013Gush Bhumbra (acting)Anthony Matthew (acting)
2014Gush BhumbraAnthony Matthew (acting)
2015Gush BhumbraAnthony Matthew
2016Gush BhumbraAnthony Matthew
2017Mo AbbasGillian Lighton (acting)
2018Gillian Lighton

Current Officers and Directors of the Society

Office First Name Surname Status Last
Chair Gillian Lighton Elected 25/11/18 2018
Director Ned Newitt Elected 22/11/15 2015
Treasurer John Catt Elected 20/11/16 2016
Director Mushtaq Patas Elected 19/11/17 2017
Secretary Anthony Matthew Elected 19/11/17 2017
Director Robert Bennet Elected 25/11/18 2018
Director Michael Gerard Elected 25/11/18 2018
Director Brenda Fields Elected 25/11/18 2018
Director Mark Lucas Elected 25/11/18 2018

Memorandum and Articles of Association

As a Limited Company, the rules and constitution of the Society are embodied in legal documents - the Memorandum and Articles of Association. These are not fixed for all time so for historical interest we include past versions alongside the current one here.

2013 (current)M&As as amended at the AGM, 17 Nov 2013.
2010M&As as amended at the AGM, 7 Nov 2010.
2009M&As as revised following EGM 7 June 2009
2007Original M&As on formation of the company

Page updated 14 August 2018

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