Edinburgh Secular Society

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Edinburgh Secular Society is an organisation, based in Edinburgh, dedicated to promoting secularism across Scotland.[1] It was established on 28 October 2012.[1]

An earlier society of this name was active in the mid-19th century.[2] The earlier Edinburgh Secular Society was active in 1866-89, 1891–94, 1896-1903, 1906–09 ).[2] In historical documents, it is often referred to as the Edinburgh 'branch' of the National Secular Society. It is believed they met in Trades Hall, Carruther's Close (now Carrubber's Close), Edinburgh.[3] An 1857 notice in The Reasoner lists their weekly meetings on Sundays at 6.30pm.[4] They appear to have been ejected by the Christian 'Carrubber's Close Mission' in 1859.[5] John MacKinnon Robertson was active in Edinburgh Secular Society,[6] Bradlaugh addressed Edinburgh Secular Society,[3] and Robertson also gave addresses at the Leicester Secular Society (the first secular society in the world, formed in 1851), led by George Holyoake, who introduced the term ‘secularism’ in 1851.[7] John Lees took over as president of Edinburgh Secular Society, and later vice-president of the NSS.[8]

Steuart Campbell is the current secretary and treasurer of the Edinburgh Secular Society.[9] In 2013 the group, along with the Humanist Society Scotland, started a campaign against religious representation on council education committees in Scotland.[10][11]

In August 2013, Edinburgh Secular Society published a report which outlined the extent of religious indoctrination in Scottish schools, by large chaplaincy teams.[12]


  1. ^ a b http://www.edinsecsoc.org
  2. ^ a b ‘Radicals, Secularists and Republicans: Popular freethought in Britain, 1866-1915’ Edward Royle
  3. ^ a b Mares, Detlev. "Index to the "National Reformer", 1867-1874" (PDF). Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "G. J. Holyoake: 'The Reasoner.'". Gerald-massey.org.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  5. ^ Carrubbers Christian Centre. "History". Carrubbers. Archived from the original on 12 October 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Michael Freeden, 'Robertson, John Mackinnon (1856–1933)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, May 2006 (accessed 6 May 2008).
  7. ^ (Holyoake, G.J. (1896). Origin and Nature of Secularism, London: Watts & Co., p.50)
  8. ^ Victorian Keats and Romantic Carlyle: The Fusions and Confusions of Literary Periods by C.C. Barfoot
  9. ^ "The Team". Edinburgh Secular Society. Retrieved 7 October 2015. 
  10. ^ "Secular bid to halt religious influence on schools committees". The Herald (Scotland). 18 July 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  11. ^ "Campaigners call for end to religious 'interference' in schools". STV. 19 May 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013. 
  12. ^ http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6352780

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