Theosophy in Wales
Ancient & Modern
History of the Theosophical
Society in Wales
Charles James Compiles
A Vegetarian Eating Out List 1955
Although vegetarianism has never been a condition of membership of
the Theosophical Society, many members have been vegetarian and this is still the
case today. Notable lifelong vegetarians were Charles and Ada James and Peter
Back in the 1950s vegetarianism in the UK was
much less common than it is today and was also considered a more extreme
position. As a result, very few catering establishments catered for vegetarians
and there are stories of requests for a vegetarian alternative being greeted
with disbelief or even hostility at some restaurants. Eating out was therefore
not normally a viable option for the 1950s vegetarian and information on the
subject was much harder to come by.
Charles James was a member of the Vegetarian Society and in May
1955 he obtained a list of from them of establishments associated with the
Vegetarian Catering Society who provided vegetarian alternatives. It seems that
exclusively vegetarian restaurants were almost unknown outside London. In
addition Charles did some research of his own and also canvassed his vegetarian
contacts in other parts of Wales.
The result was that Charles was able to compile an impressive list
of places where vegetarians were welcome in Wales and to
make this available to members. This also became a resource for non-members who
were vegetarian or interested in becoming so. Some larger hotels and a very
small number of guests houses in Cardiff were
found to be offering vegetarian alternatives. This was an improvement on the
situation for the 1941 European Congress when no Cardiff guest houses catered
Charles and his wife Ada lived
into the 21st century and therefore were able to benefit from the
rise of the vegetarian movement as a force to be reckoned with.
We now live in a period where both the food and catering industries
now cater for vegetarians and this would not have come about if people like
Charles had not been prepared to fight the vegetarian corner in the past.
Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge,
206 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 – 1DL.