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Charles Bradlaugh

(1833-1891), Politician; MP for Northampton and freethinker; founder of National Secular Society

Sitter in 18 portraits
Bradlaugh left school at eleven and worked as a clerk to a coal merchant. He enlisted in the army in 1850 and served in Ireland until 1853. On his return to London he became a pamphleteer and writer about 'secularist' ideas under the pseudonym 'Iconoclast'. In 1880 he was elected as an MP, and claimed the right to affirm, a non-religious alternative to taking the Oath of Allegiance, but this was denied. Because all MPs had to take the Oath before taking their seat or voting, he effectively forfeited his seat in Parliament. With the support of his constituency he successfully recontested Northampton four times, and on each occasion pleaded his case to affirm. Finally in 1888 he secured an act to permit parliamentary affirmations.

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The Lobby of the House of Commons, 1886, by Liborio Prosperi ('Lib') - NPG 5256

The Lobby of the House of Commons, 1886

by Liborio Prosperi ('Lib')
oil on canvas, published in Vanity Fair Christmas Supplement 1886
NPG 5256

Charles Bradlaugh, by Unknown photographer - NPG Ax18357

Charles Bradlaugh

by Unknown photographer
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s
NPG Ax18357

Charles Bradlaugh, by Unknown photographer - NPG x1212

Charles Bradlaugh

by Unknown photographer
albumen carte-de-visite, 1860s-1870s
NPG x1212

Charles Bradlaugh, by Unknown photographer - NPG x44842

Charles Bradlaugh

by Unknown photographer
albumen carte-de-visite, 1870s
NPG x44842

Charles Bradlaugh, by Elliott & Fry - NPG x127413

Charles Bradlaugh

by Elliott & Fry
chlorobromide print on cream card mount, 1890
NPG x127413

Charles Bradlaugh ('Statesmen. No. 328.'), by Sir Leslie Ward - NPG D43962

Charles Bradlaugh ('Statesmen. No. 328.')

by Sir Leslie Ward
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 12 June 1880
NPG D43962

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