Sidney Hartnoll Beard (1862-1938)

One more link with the early days of vegetarianism, as an organised movement, in this country has gone with the death, which we regret to record, of Mr. Sidney H. Beard, at the age of seventy-six, after a week’s illness, at his home in Putney on October 20th. Besides horticulture, Mr. Beard was keenly interested in metaphysical and scientific research, and he became an honorary member of the Psychical Research Society in 1882. Like Mrs. Beard, he was an ardent spiritualist. However, his chief interest, to which he devoted his life, was the Order of the Golden Age, and of this he was founder and president. A ready writer, and also a lecturer, on health and religious topics, Mr. Beard was editor of the Herald of the Golden Age (the official organ of the organisation just mentioned) from 1896 to 1918. He was also the author of numerous articles, pamphlets and booklets. Among the last mentioned may be cited “Is Flesh-eating Morally Defensible?” and “A Comprehensive Guide-Book to Natural, Hygenic and Humane Diet.” In November, 1894, a series of lectures held in Devonshire under the auspices of the Exeter Vegetarian Society was the means of Mr. Beard adopting the vegetarian diet. Subsequently, he and the society’s hon. secretary, Mr.J. I. Pengelly, decided to resuscitate the practically defunct Order of the Golden Age, and headquarters were established at the residence of Mr. Beard, “The Beacon,” Ilfracombe. Soon afterwards, in January, 1896, the first number of the Herald of the Golden Age made its appearance. In 1904 headquarters were transferred to Paignton, Mr. Beard occupying the offices of president and hon. treasurer. Among its objects, as set out in its literature at that time, were “to proclaim and hasten the coming of the Golden Age, when humaneness and peace, righteousness and spirituality shall prevail, and when kindness towards every fellow-creature shall reign in the human heart.” In the year 1909 headquarters were removed to London. Since then, countless thousands of leaflets and brochures have been distributed in many parts of the world, branches of the organisation being established in Pietermaritzburg and Bombay, as well as in Burma.

The Vegetarian News, December 1938.