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‘Vodcast’ on the History of Vegetarianism

6th November 2009

Centre Associate Fellow, Samantha Calvert, a PhD candidate at the University of Birmingham, has produced a short film about her research on the origins of vegetarianism in the UK.

It is one of six three minute films to be shown on the College of Arts and Law’s website. Entitled ‘The Beefsteak Chapel’, it considers the relationship between the Salford Bible Christian Church (a vegetarian Christian church) and The Vegetarian Society of the UK. The ‘vodcast’ is part of a university pilot project on ‘knowledge transfer’ aimed at to introducing newcomers to the subject.

The film features a visit to the site of the first Bible Christian Church in King Street, Salford, and some vegetarian hymns, part of the Church’s liturgy, that have not been performed for at least 70 years. Reflecting on her experience of making the film, Samantha said, “It was a true voyage of discovery as I had never picked up a camera before, and editing software was a totally new experience too. There was a great sense of achievement in managing the steep learning curve in a short time.”

“I just hope that it helps people to understand something of the fascinating history of vegetarianism in this country”, she commented.

Samantha Calvert is pursuing doctoral research in the School of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion at Birmingham University on the relationship between Christianity and vegetarianism (1809 – 2009). She has published articles on vegetarianism and Christianity in this period in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History (Vol 58, No. 3, 2007), Eating and Believing, Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Vegetarianism and Theology (eds. R. Muers and D. Grumett, T. & T. Clark, 2008) and has another article forthcoming in Studies in Church History. She is a former Head of Public Affairs for The Vegetarian Society in the UK.

The film can be found and is also available at