I was concerned that I had not given Mr Bradshaw’s tour of Red Lion Square my full attention and decided to look a little more closely at one of the people associated with the Square – Moncure Daniel Conway (1832-1907), an American, from Virginia.
Moncure Conway came from a non-conformist family, and graduated from Harvard University’s School of Divinity in 1854. He was ordained into a Unitarian Church in Washington DC in 1855, but dismissed in 1856 because of his strong anti-slavery stance. (It seems extraordinary, does it not, that a quasi-religious, free-thinking body – the Unitarian Church – should condemn views on equality of all people.) By 1862 he had left the ministry, and in 1863 he went to London (more here) and from 1864-86 was the leader of what became the South Place Ethical Society.
The photographs above are from this site.
‘Moncure’ is a curious name; could it be derived from a Scottish surname?
Moncure Conway was a prolific author and this site gives access to his writings online, or you can find him on Amazon, in print or for download to Kindle! He even wrote on London: Travels in South Kensington – with notes on decorative art and architecture in England, 1882, and he wrote about his life: Autobiography, Memories and Experiences of Moncure Daniel Conway. 2 vols., published in 1904
He was a concerned, thinking man who journeyed spiritually all his life. After his wife’s death in 1997 he moved to Paris where he lived alone and died in 1907. (I am reminded of another free-thinking American who was drawn to Paris, Edith Wharton.)
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