The only record to survive in the Archives from Hilary 1960 is a letter from Margaret Knight (see below) about a scrapbook of cuttings about a meeting she had addressed. But what a meeting! It was held in opposition to a mission to the University by the Archbishop of York and it resulted in a report in the Daily Telegraph (which was later extensively quoted in a report in the March 1960 edition of The Humanist – see below).
This is the Telegraph report from 3 February 1960:
The next day TheTimes had a report on more direct opposition to the Archbishop:
The Humanist reported on the affair at the end of a long article about the flourishing of Humanism among young people (itself reproduced at the end of this page):
Mrs Knight’s letter thanks Tony Brierley for a scrapbook about the meeting, referring to the report in the Daily Telegraph. This is her letter:
The issue of The Humanist that carried the report of this meeting also had a leading article and a long feature on the stirrings of humanism among young people, manifested for example by the new University Humanist Federation. These are given below.
[Michaelmas 1959] [Trinity 1960]
The Group carried out a survey of its members and the results have been noted in the margin on this copy of the questions:
The results are interesting. The first question shows that about 20-40 respondnents had been at the term’s main meetings (A J Ayer was the biggest draw), which suggests rather larger attendance overall, allowing for a response rate to the survey of less than 100%. Interest in Humanism rather than in particular meetings was the main reason for joining, and most were clear what Humanism was and had heard of it before going up to Oxford.
Twenty-three were Christians, seven unsure.and fifteen ‘other’, but the great majority – 63 – were humanist, atheist or agnostic. Seven out of ten were reading arts subjects and slightly fewer were in their first year. Questions 15 and 16 suggest concern at a fall-off in attendance at discussion meetings; amd questions 17 and 18 seek to identify future candidates as Group officers.
David Batchelor was president and Susan Gosling treasurer but the post of secretary was vacant. In a thin programme, two of the speakers wre J D Bernal and P H Nowell-Smith.
Another speaker was Paul King, who was on the committee the following term. In 1968 he responded to an invitation to an OUHG reunion party with a delightful and revealing letter:
[Hilary 1960] [Michaelmas 1960]
The president was Bryan Keeping, secretary Ivor Smith and treasurer Diana Clements. Speakers included Antony Quinton, Richard Crossman MP and Hector Hawton, the editor of The Humanist.
[Trinity 1959] [Hilary 1960]