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H.J. Blackham started his pioneering humanist career at Stanton Coit’s ‘Ethical Church’, and became known as the ‘architect’ of the modern humanist movement. The first Executive Director of the British Humanist Association (now Humanists UK), he was instrumental in promoting humanism as a complete, lived philosophy, and in organising the International Humanist and Ethical Union in 1952 (now Humanists International). This bronze bust, commissioned by the British Humanist Association to mark Blackham’s retirement, was created by sculptor Martyn Wright. At the 1973 Annual Conference of the BHA, a replica was presented to Blackham himself, while the original was kept (and remains) in the organisation’s London office. While Executive Director, Blackham pioneered a humanist counselling service – a forerunner of today’s Non-Religious Pastoral Support Network. His books on humanism helped to widen public awareness and to establish the BHA as the UK’s leading body representing the non-religious. At the heart of Blackham’s humanism was an active drive to help others; a sense of ‘conscience in action’. In 1963’s Objections to Humanism, he summed this up:

Faith without works is not Christianity, and unbelief without any effort to help shoulder the consequences for mankind is not Humanism.

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