Theosophy in Wales

Ancient & Modern

History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


Charles James Compiles

A Vegetarian Eating Out List 1955


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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 Freeman.


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 for vegetarians.


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.





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Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge,

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 1DL.