Please leave any comments below, or contact david dot pollock at virgin dot net.
As well as membership cards, I have a collection of about 100 posters. Some are in two colours, which would have required an extra print run. There are some posters for other organisations too, usually with a similar agenda.
As an Oxford group, we were fortunate to have some distinguished speakers, including MPs.
Our posters were distributed around the university. I remember about 28 colleges. After printing the posters, I often had the job of going round all the colleges to hang them up. With regular meetings, we effectively had a reserved place on the college notice boards. :-).
During my time with OUHG, operations were centred around a simple hand printing press. Years before the internet, we felt we could publish our opinions without censorship.The press room also served as a meeting place, where policy could be discussed and vast quantities of coffee drunk.
The press produced the membership card and programme every term, and posters on headed paper to advertise each meeting. The membership card was an enormous task. At one stage, there was a print run of 1200 cards. Four sides, would have taken 4-6 hours each to print, and all day to set up, all involving a team of people. Each sheet had to be laid out separately to dry. Even collating, folding and stapling the sheets took hours. The press also did some work for other university societies, so was a valuable source of income.
I have a full set of membership cards from Hilary 65 to Hilary 68, which reflects my involvement in the Group. My name appears as Printing Officer on the Michaelmas 67 card. The press was also a curse for the person who had to host it, usually the president.
I have some very happy memories of these times. My special thanks to all the people who made it so enjoyable.
Many thanks for providing images of the cards for Michaelmas 1966, Michaelmas 1967 and Hilary 1968 – now included on the site.
An excellent archive bringing back many memories: a high-powered collection of senior and junior members, together with first-rate speakers. I too was surprised about the decline of the group in the nineteen-seventies. A member during 1960-3, I recall vigorous and valuable sessions with Michael Argyle, A.J. Ayer, Anthony Quinton, Barbara Wootton and others
Two of the speakers – Margaret Knight and H.J. Blackham – were important figures within humanist organization at the time. Blackham was highly intelligent and had written a book with a title like Six Existentialist Thinkers, but he tended to come across as a little austere.
The vigour of humanism in the early sixties may have stemmed partly from the influence of public intellectuals of the time – Bertrand Russell, who continued to have almost magisterial authority, A.J. Ayer and Julian Huxley. In Oxford there was perhaps a coming together of themes and ideas as one was also taken up with issues such as homosexual law reform, abortion law reform, and finally banishing capital punishment – and with the hope that a future Labour majority would effect reforms.
Interesting site – well done. I was College Rep at Pembroke between 1968 and 1970.
Triggered a few memories.
It reminded me why I joined OUHG:
– I’m definitely not a political animal in the party sense. While at Oxford I realised that politicians have more in common with each other than they do with the rest of society. But I did want intelligent discussion of the important social and personal issues, without any political tags attached.
– and OUHG had the most interesting speakers of any society in the University at the front edge of the major issues of the time. Just look at the programme for those years.
I was a little surprised to see that the group subsided so quickly in the early 1970s. Any organisation in a transient university world is liable to its peaks and troughs, but perhaps you and your successors did too good a job in bringing a humanist and social agenda into the mainstream!
Do please post a comment – especially if you are a former member of OUHG. And please tell other ex-OUHG members about the site and encourage them to get in touch and provide any missing material!
If you have their e-mail addresses, please send them to me direct – see the link at the foot of the home page.
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