Sue Young Histories

Thomas Shorter 1823 - 1899

September 09, 2009

ClerkenwellThomas Shorter **1823 - 1899 also known as **Thomas Brevior (a Latinized version of his name), was an English poet, and the secretary of the Working Men’s College, London, was an active spiritualist, and one of the founders of the spiritualist movement in Britain.

Thomas Shorter was the founder of the London Spiritualistic Union, which arose out of the Charing Cross Spirit Power Circle, alongside John Ashburner, Jacob Dixon, a member of the Society for Psychical Research, a follower (an Owenite) of Robert Owen, and the co-editor of _The Spiritual Magazine___,

Thomas Shorter, Gerald Massey and Walter Cooper came together to fight for equal rights for workers.

Thomas Shorter was a colleague of John Ashburner, Emma Hardinge Britten, William Howitt, Kenneth Robert Henderson MacKenzie, John Murray Spear, William M Wilkinson, and he knew Paschal Beverly Randolph, who made the acquaintance of a number of spiritualists when he came to London and toured the spiritualist circles in 1855, and these included John Ashburner, Jacob Dixon, Edward Bulwer Lytton, James John Garth Wilkinson, William Wilkinson and many others.

Born in Clerkenwell, Shorter was active for many years in working class causes. He worked as a watchcase finisher, and he espoused Chartism, and he served as a secretary to a group of Finsbury Owenites, and secretary of the Society of Promoting Working Men’s Associations.

Under the influence of Frederick Denison Maurice, he became a Christian Socialist, and he became the first secretary of the London Working Men’s College in 1854.

Shorter became a spiritualist and wrote extensively on this subject. In later life, he became blind, but he still wrote poetry and remained politically and religiously active.

From Toward the end of 1860 The Spiritual Magazine was founded by William M Wilkinson (brother of James John Garth Wilkinson) and became the leading organ. It ran until 1875. Thomas Shorter and William M Wilkinson were the editors for the greater part of its existence, and William Howitt was the chief contributor.

Thomas Shorter contributed widely to various spiritualist publications, and he was a prodigious author,


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