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Founded in 1905 by the prolific but largely unremembered writer Richard Dimsdale Stocker, the Brighton and Hove Ethical Society – like others in the Ethical movement – sought to encourage its members ‘by natural and human means to know, love, and live the right.’ They described theirs as a ‘religion of duty,’ but one that existed entirely separately from ‘speculative beliefs or supernaturalistic theories.’

History and influence

The Brighton and Hove Ethical Society was officially formed on 30 April 1905, by Richard Dimsdale Stocker and a small group of like minded friends. George Jacob Holyoake was also instrumental in encouraging members to the group, which met first in a private house, and later in a small room at the Brighton School of Music on North Street. The society held Sunday meetings throughout the year, and organised summer outings. Their Secretary, a Miss Palmer, was the daughter of a former member at South Place (now Conway Hall).

The Society’s objects were:

  1. To assist in developing the Moral Ideas.
  2. To proclaim the religion of duty, as embodied in the Ethical Ideal.
  3. To teach that Ethical principles exist independently of speculative beliefs or supernaturalistic theories.
  4. To emphasise the moral factor in all human relations, whether personal, social, political, national, or international.
  5. To exhort men by natural and human means to know, love, and live the right.
  6. To derive through membership mutual inspiration and support, and to promote moral fellowship.

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