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Lord’s Day of Rest Association

Also known as Working Men’s Lord’s Day Rest Association


It was founded on 21 April 1857 (The Times, obituary of Charles Hill, 4 April 1910) with the aim “To secure Sunday as a Day of Rest” (The Times, 11 February 1873)

It campaigned against Sunday trading, Sunday postal deliveries, and the Sunday opening of museums (The Times, 18 May 1866)

It also campaigned against Sunday drinking in pubs (The Times, 7 May 1883)

It had powerful supporters; Lord Shaftesbury was its President (The Times, 19 March 1869)

He saw it as a mission to protect the “lowest, the poorest, and most destitute class of labourers” (The Times, 19 March 1869)

The British Museum, which proposed Sunday opening, was a particular target (The Times, 2 April 1870)

When Lord Shaftesbury died, the Association said he had given almost twenty years of service (The Times, 5 October 1885)

Mr Girdlestone was its chairman (The Times, 22 January 1873) and its secretary was Charles Hill (The Times, 11 February 1873)

The MP Samuel Morley became its Vice-President in 1878 (The Times, 21 March 1878)

The Secretary, Charles Hill, claimed that “The superior vigour and the greater physical strength of the English [compared with the French] are largely due to the quiet and religious observance of the Sunday” (letter to The Times, 14 August 1878

It continued to call to account organisations which carried out Sunday working, even the military at Woolwich Arsenal (The Times, 17 April 1885)

After the death of Lord Shaftesbury, Lord Harrowby took over as President (The Times, 6 April 1886)

By this time, James Halford was the Chairman, but the Secretary was still Charles Hill; the Association was then planning to take legal action against the ship Great Eastern for opening as a place of amusement on Sundays (The Times, 20 July 1886)

The personnel remained remarkably consistent; in 1889, the Chairman was again James Girdlestone, the Deputy Chairman was James Halford, and the Secretary was Charles Hill; the President was then Lord Kinnaird (The Times, 22 October 1889)

Lord Kinnaird was the former Arthur Kinnaird, who was one of the founders of the Home for Working Boys in Queen Square, and formerly also Treasurer of the Home for Gentlewomen, also in Queen Square

Charles Hill had been Secretary for more than fifty years by the time he died in 1910; he had brought the Association out of debt and kept it profitable during that time (The Times, 4 April 1910), as well as writing the Association’s history

In 1920 the Association apparently merged with the Lord’s Day Observance Society; this was later incorporated into Day One Christian Ministries (Database of Non-Government Organisations)

What was reforming about it?

It was an ally of many trades unions, working men’s associations, and working-class organisations, at least in its campaign for a day off (The Times, 7 May 1883)

Where in Bloomsbury

The Association was located at 13 Bedford Row until the end of the nineteenth century

Its annual meetings, however, tended to take place at Exeter Hall, although not in 1893, when this was held in the Venetian Chamber of the Holborn Restaurant (The Times, 11 April 1893)

The Holborn Restaurant became its new regular venue for meetings

In 1902 the Secretary wrote to The Times from 12 John Street (The Times, 1 November 1902)

Its offices were specifically said to be at 12 John Street in 1904, when the Secretary was still Charles Hill (4 January 1904)

The succcessor institution is based in Leominster

Website of current institution

The successor institution is Day One Christian Ministries, www.docm.org.uk (opens in new window)

Books about it

Charles Hill, Our Priceless Day of Rest (1907)


Its minutes and annual reports are held by Day One Christian Ministries in Leominster, ref. GB/NNAF/C1004

A catalogue of these holdings may be consulted at the National Archives, ref. NRA 16349 LDOS


This page last modified 13 April, 2011 by Deborah Colville


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