Henry Laycock was president, Bob Leach secretary and Narayana Money treasurer. Speakers included Professor P H Nowell-Smith and Harold (H J) Blackham from the then Ethical Union (now the British Humanist Association). The card promised Sir Julian Huxley but he did not come.
Some posters may be seen here.
David Pollock made detailed notes of most meetings this term: these short reports are based on his notes:
Jack Dunman started by saying that those who recognised the main problems facing mankind as war, poverty, ignorance and disease were already materialist and half way to being socialists and communists, but those who concentrated on so-called “higher problems” such as freedom, morality and the fate of the individual soul would end up as reactionaries.
Harold Blackham addressed an audience of 68 and ranged over Montaigne, the Novum Organum, the beginnings of modern science, Auguste Comte, T H Huxley, W K Clifford, George Eliot, Auguste Comte and many others before moving on to a description of modern agnosticism.
P H Nowell-Smith had an audience of 138 for a talk that started from the basic nature of morality as a necessity for communal life before describing traditional Christian sexual morality and its various rationales (family life, preservation of inheritance. . .) and criticising its consequences (including hypocrisy, guilt, deception,secrecy and D H Lawrence’s “sex in the head”). He deplored falsehoods about masturbation, warned of marital rape (seen by many as “within the rules”), quoted various findings from the Kinsey report, and concluded that rules were out of place other than those of insightful caring. In answer to a questoin, he revealed doubts about homosexuality – it “tends to make one an outcast” and so it was “good to direct people towards heterosexual channels”.
J S L Gilmour seems to have been unable to come and his place was taken by a Reverend Jenkins who told an audience of 50 about the dangers of Humanism, which included an inevitable trivialisation or bestailisation of human beings! Symbolically the lights went out during his talk which was finished by candlelight!
Freda Parker had an audience of 30 to hear her talk of the necessity of birth control to limit the growth of world population. Young people were apallingly ignorant and muddled – half had only the haziest idea of how reproduction worked; parents were silent or told lies about sex to their children; but the age of puberty was coming down rapidly while marriage had to be postponed for economic reasons. Answering questons, she said that the Family Planning Association’s clinics provided advice to those who were married or about to be married: some clinics asked only for a date of a prospective marriage but others demanded more evidence. She was not attracted to vasectormy – “a permanent mutilation lacking reverence for life” – and other questions showed that her audience was far more radical than she was.
[Michaelmas 1961] [Trinity 1962]