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Edward Carpenter (1844-1929) was a proponent of a "larger" Socialism, one that embraced the liberation of the emotional and spiritual life along with the economic. A small-holding farmer and cultural and political activist, he advocated the Simplification of Life and put his beliefs into practice. A man of letters, he published over 20 books, including his collection of poems Towards Democracy, and numerous additional articles. He campaigned through out his life on many issues of social concern, ranging from women's suffrage to the protection of the environment, from sexual emancipation to the formation of trade unions. A unifying spiritual vision underlay all of his life and work. As a homosexual man, he lived openly and in quiet celebration while his writings and example laid the foundation for the homosexual freedom movement of the twentieth century. More on Edward Carpenter...
Through his many friendships, Edward Carpenter transversed again and again the divisions of class, gender, sexuality, race and creed. Men and women from across the world and from all walks of life came into connection with each other through him and his home at Millthorpe in Derbyshire, England. Appreciative of this, the Edward Carpenter Forum welcomes a diversity of men and women from around the world and from a wide range of interest groups; social, political or academic.
Lyme Regis Weekend

Edward Carpenter Forum

Lyme Regis Weekend:
November 29-December 1, 2013


Over the past few years the Edward Carpenter Forum has organised a series of visits to the places that were central to Edward Carpenter’s life and work. We are now offering an opportunity to learn more about the thought, writings and legacy of Carpenter at a residential weekend set in the beautiful surroundings of the Dorset coast

The event will be in Lyme Regis on the weekend of November 29-December 1, 2013. Lyme Regis was familiar to Carpenter and his circle and he visited for holidays there later in his life.

During the weekend we propose to explore several themes related to Carpenter, including:

  • Carpenter’s poetry: Towards Democracy and its links with Whitman
  • Noël Greig’s play about Carpenter, The Dear Love of Comrades
  • A contemporary perspective on Edward Carpenter and his message for today

Please let us know if you have any ideas for an additional theme or interest you would like to see included in the weekend.

We hope to explore some of the surrounding coast and countryside on the Saturday afternoon.

The organisers of the weekend are John Peirce and Philip Taylor.

The self-catering accommodation will be in a house called Old Monmouth in the centre of Lyme Regis. It sleeps up to 16 people in twin, double and three-bedded rooms. has more details and photographs. Bus services run to the venue from Axminster (trains from London Waterloo) and Exeter railway stations.

For further details and a booking form, see

The all-inclusive price for a shared room is £130, with options (at extra cost) for single occupancy, day visitors (non-residential)
and staying over on the Sunday night.

Best Wishes,

Philip Taylor

New Content Coming

Edward Carpenter Forum Update!

Because of the editors commitment to other projects, the Edward Carpenter Forum website has been on a bit of a sabbatical for the last two years. We are happy to announce that next issue of the website should be up by Winter of 2013. Please check back and until then explore and enjoy the back stock of material available here.



Joey Cain

John Baker

Welcome To The Edward Carpenter Forum Website Issue 4

Welcome to Issue 4 of the Edward Carpenter Forum Website! It's been a bit long in the making but we hope the superb material we have for you in this issue will reward your wait. We start off with our first Special Feature - Edward Carpenter's Cambridge. It's a collection of articles covering the Forums' visit to and exploration of Carpenter's life in that City.

We are excited to provide both a report on and the premier of the online version of My Days and Dreams:  The Worlds of Edward Carpenter, Gay Freedom Pioneer, an exhibition on Carpenter mounted at the San Francisco Main Public Library.

EC Forum member Professor Michael Robertson has contributed a review essay on Sheila Rowbotham's Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love.

We close out this issue with a report on the gathering at Carpenter's grave in Guildford to commemorate the 80th anniversary of his passing.

Noel Greig as Edward Carpenter in his play "The Dear Love of Comrades".
It was with sadness that we heard of the death of Noel Greig, on September 9th 2009. Playwright, actor, director, teacher and gay activist, Noel Greig did perhaps more than anyone to raise the profile of Edward Carpenter during the late 1970s and early 1980s and within the Gay Liberation Movement. His play on Carpenter's life, 'The Dear Love of Comrades', for the Gay Sweatshop in 1979, introduced Edward Carpenter to many, and the ground breaking 1979 BBC2 play 'Only Connect', written by Greig and Drew Griffiths, also took Carpenter for its theme. Greig's essay, in 1984, for the Gay Modern Classics' edition of Carpenter's Selected Writings remains an outstanding introduction. The following obituary links provide a fuller account of Greig's richly lived life:

As this issue goes up on the server we are preparing for Edward Carpenter's Leeds, an event to be held in Leeds, England the weekend of September 4, 2010. Organized by Paul Marshall and the EC Forum, it promises to be a fantastic look into the political and social activism and relationships of Carpenter and his friends. We look forward to seeing many of you there.

The Henry Salt Society expressed concern over the ECF Featured Essay 'The Last Years of Edward Carpenter', which appeared in our last issue (#3). The following link gives more information about their objections: . We highly recommend the Society's excellent website and the information that it gives on this important humanitarian campaigner and man of letters.

We continue to be grateful to the Sheffield City Archives, Edward Carpenter Collection, for permission to reprint photos and other materials in their collection and to Carpenter copyright holder Jonathan Cutbill for permission to publish original Carpenter writings.

Special Feature - Edward Carpenter's Cambridge
Carpenter at Cambridge, 2nd from left with hat on knee.
The Edward Carpenter Forum hosted a day long visit to Cambridge, England in September of 2009. The event was organized and led by EC Forum co-founder and website co-editor John Baker.

Forum members visited the sites closly associated with Carpenter's years in that City, years during which he attended University and served as a curate in the Church of England. It also marked the time of his increasing awarness of both himself and the larger spiritual and political issues that would preoccupy him for the remainder of his life.

Our thanks and gratitude go to Trinty Hall Master, Professor Martin Daunton and Mrs Daunton, Dr. John Pollard and Trinity Hall Fellow Alison Hennegan for the hospitality and warm welcome they gave to us on our visit. Thanks also to Canon Fraser Watts of St Edward's Church for his graciousness and assistance.

And many thanks to our own dear John Baker for organizing this wonderful event and collecting much of the Carpenter materials we now publish here.


A photo essay of the Forum's visit to Cambridge and the places associated with Edward Carpenter.

Excerpts from Carpenter's writing about his life and times in Cambridge.


A look at two of Carpenter's closest friends from his Cambridge years: Edward Beck and Charles Oates.

Our Web Premier is a sermon Carpenter wrote and delivered while a curate at St Edward's Church in Cambridge.

Our featured Letter is one Carpenter wrote in 1871 to the man who, like himself, was also gay and would be his closest confidant for over 20 years.

An account of a memorial service for Carpenter held at St Edward's Church, where he served as a curate before renouncing his orders.

Edward Carpenter Exhibit In San Francisco

sfpl-1My Days and Dreams: The Worlds of Edward Carpenter, Gay Freedom Pioneer

In January of 2009 the San Francisco Public Library mounted a month long exhibition entitled My Days and Dreams: The Worlds of Edward Carpenter, Gay Freedom Pioneer curated by EC Forum co-founder and website co-editor Joey Cain.  The exhibit coincided with Shiela Rowbotham's appearance in the San Francisco Bay Area to promote her book Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love. We are pleased to present a web version of the exhibition.

Book Review
edward carpenter northern eventsThe Long Happy Life of Edward Carpenter:

An Appreciation of Shiela Rowbotham's Edward Carpenter: A Life of Liberty and Love.

by Michael Robertson

Professor Michael Robertson reviews both Sheila's book and Carpenter's life in this excellent essay.

EC Forum Gathering


80th Anniversary of Carpenter's Death

On June 28, 2009 EC Forum members and friends gathered  for a commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Carpenter's death. The event took place at Carpenter's gravesite in Guilford and at his beloved home "Millthorpe, Guildford". A report by John Baker on the festivities!