SAGB on the move

After fifty-five years in its most recent home, the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain is packing up and moving out of that big Victorian house close to one corner of Belgrave Square – but it’s not going very far. Still in Belgravia, the SAGB will be based on the second floor of the Victoria Charity Centre at 11, Belgrave Road, SW1V 1RB. Victoria mainline and underground stations are close by. There is a large clear map on the website for the Charity Services Centre (not the Victoria Charity Centre): just click on ‘Get directions’.  Alternatively see the map below.

The SAGB has now closed at Belgrave Square, and will use the Christmas and New Year break to begin settling in to its new home, where it will reopen at 11.30am on Wednesday 12th January 2011. On arrival at the new address, visitors will need to sign in at reception in the ground floor foyer. From there they will be guided to the second floor. There is a lift and wheelchair access.

There will be some changes to opening times and events. For the first few months in the Association’s new home, there will be no evening demonstrations at 7.00pm. The Sunday service will be at 3.30pm instead of 4.00pm and the demonstration on Sunday will be at 5.00pm instead of 6.00pm.

Opening times from January 12 will be as follows:

Monday                            11.30am – 6.00pm
Tuesday to Thursday        11.30am – 7.00pm
Friday                              11.00am – 5.00pm
Saturday                          10.00am – 5.00pm
Sunday                             1.30pm – 6.00pm

The SAGB sends Christmas greetings to Spiritualists everywhere, and looks forward to welcoming visitors in the New Year.

19 responses to “SAGB on the move

  1. This is so sad. In 2013 it will be the 100th year since Ernest Oaten got Spiritualism recognised by the british government. This is a plea to all Spiritualists and i want you to listen to me very carefully. IF WE DO NOT START GETTING OUR ACT TOGETHER AND START TO DEFEND AND SUPPORT OUR WAY OF LIFE, THERE WILL BE NO SPIRITUALISM IN THE NEXT 10 YEARS. Our government did not even allow us to have our own remembrance at the cenotaph. We did not fight it! The british govenment has still not pardoned Helen Duncan despite other countries signing her website petition. We do not fight it! Slowly slowly Spiritualism is being bastardised in the british media day in, day out and we sit back and do nothing! ‘Oh dont worry spirit will sort it out.’ WRONG! We have to sort it out. I just hope that in the next 20 years there will be at least one building still standing to be a beacon for Spiritualism. What next? the churches closing? Stansted Hall closing? The CPS closing? I think now is the time we all have to stop worring about how good we look and how good our evidence is on the church platform, stage and TV and start defending our religion. We can start by taking Helen Duncan’s case to court again to be pardoned for her treatment under the human rights act. Maybe a few well known mediums in the british media should start using there power to making this known publicly.We are coming up to the 50th anniversary of Arthur Findlay leaving Stansted Hall for the advancement of Spiritualism. I wonder what will happen then?

  2. Just like Jay Love’s post – I wonder also, if this a good move for the SAGB ? I’m certainly not one to shrink from progress, but instinctively feel this may be a step backwards. We need good strong roots if we are to flourish. But then, I suppose, even with a single seed saved, a whole forest may be grown…and the future for Spiritualism has to be different.
    It can be frightening when the old ways seem to die. But perhaps this is all part of a Greater Plan for change, that we can only see the smallest part of.
    I certainly have the faith in Spiritualism, that it will continue, but re-packaged, perhaps in a different form to that we recognise currently. To look at the huge advances the world continues to go through since the pioneering days, socially we have changed, and fear is a great part of society, and expectation is all.
    People need a new Spiritualism that they can believe in, and can feel a part of. Homage to the past needs paying, but proof, and quality of evidence is paramount. If the great mediums of the past swayed thousands, perhaps standards need a resurgance that the populace would be glad of. Only then will our voice be heard equally. I believe a repeat of the wartime popularity of Spiritualism is around the next corner, and we need to be ready.
    I wish the SAGB all the very best in it’s move – and pray that their ‘newness’ be progressive, productive and continual.

  3. I have to agree with the first post. Spiritualism’s numbers continue to slide down the slope all the while Spiritualists remain blinded to the fact; or just choose to ignore it with the ole familiar “we are doing so well.” It is time we set the mediumship aside to be used for the proof of the continuity of life and not degraded into stage play. It’s time Spiritualists return to teaching the philosophy – the basic foundation our forefathers gave to us. I do agree we need to move into the 21st century, upgrade our terminology and improved our mediumship and oratories BUT we dont need to try and change the foundation of the movement. I do not know what is happening across the big pond but I do know in the USA the 15 min. money-making fundraisers that are concluded by bell ringers needs to STOP! When we as Spiritualists allow our mediumship to be degraded we degrade the whole movement.
    So let’s make a New Year Resolution and start with returning to the basic foundation – the Philosophy of Modern Spiritualism. If we begin there and practice the Natural Laws in our Life, we could cause a resurgence of Spiritualism and maybe one day become what was predicted “The Light of the World.”

  4. Perhaps if all the spiritual organisations, schools, mediums, etc could
    come together to create a conference of meaning and decision of what we
    are about. Promote a united way forward instead of each fighting for
    thier own survival, then we get somewhere. We need someone dedicated
    for this, and monies to make it possible, not only rely on the mediums who do try to promote Spiritualism.
    John and Tina Olford are doing this with their Lotus Spiritual Academy
    in Germany very successfuly. I have been going there the past
    year developing trance alongside their mediumship training. The trance
    has really taken off into various areas including working with the Higher
    Greater Self in conjunction with Personality Physical Self.
    Wouldn’t it be wondeful to have a World Spiritual Conference to get togther
    to see and hear what is going on aroud the world and make decisions
    which promote Spiritualism? The ISF used to fill this role but now only promotes teaching development
    of mediumship. What’s going on, where’s it going on? Let’s find out.

  5. I would like to know why the SAGB has moved from its premises in Belgrave Square. As one who spent a lot of time visiting the SAGB in the years I lived in England I am curious to understand the reasons for the move. Was it for financial reasons? Is there a fall off in attendance meaning that the SAGB could not continue to fund its presence at that address? That is the news ‘behind the news’ that needs to be explored here on Spirit of PN.

    As for the need to sign in downstairs in order to gain access to the SAGB premises and events – I fear it will put some people off and runs the risk of reducing attendances.

    With regard to the broader comments about the state of Spiritualism (thank’s to Jay, Karl and Marilyn) – both in the UK and in America, I can only (sadly) agree. Once Spiritualism held the attention and support of millions. It was a movement that brought hope and revelation as it conveyed the great truth of survival and backed up what it said by demonstrating it.

    Today there is so much in Spiritualism that is substandard. So much that has been tagged onto Spiritualism that has little to do with the philosophy that was Spiritualism’s foundation. Each passing year there are fewer and fewer mediums of the needed standard. Less and less mediums seem capable of the fine oratory conveying the philosophy of Spiritualsm that existed in the past.

    Churches are closing down, or subsisting on ever declining attendees. Not surprising perhaps when the standard of mediumship is so poor but, I wonder whether the reason for the malaise is a deeper problem than that. In Spiritualism’s so-called ‘Heyday,’ the people who explored it were passionate about what they discovered. They actively promoted the truth that Spiritualism had brought to the world. They saw it as a mind-shattering new understanding, not only that we would continue to exist after we passed from physical life, nor just because it had been revealed those in the spirit realms continued to take an interest in our lives and could and would communicate back to the physical world, but because the teachings of the wise in the spirit world passed on information about the great importance of living our lives in accordance with Spiritual principles. How we lived was an important determiner of how we died and how we fared in the spirit world. How we treated our fellow man (and woman) mattered.

    Spiritualism was a radical movment. It fought for equality, it fought for women’s rights, it fought for freedom from slavery of all kinds. Today, we seem to fight for nothing very much. Too many Spiritualists seem to have forgotten that this great religion is about more than getting a message, about more than finding ways to develop psychically.

    I hope that I will be proved wrong and there are still enough real Spiritualists out there who do understand the real value of Spiritualism, and who are prepared to stand up and fight for its survival in our modern world. Yes, we need to communicate our message in a new way, and we need to do that using all the modern means available to us – radio, television, internet, etc., as well as in our meeting places. Perhaps we also need to stop calling our venues churches, a word that really belongs to another religious movement and not to Spiritualism at all.

    But however we try to communicate we need to be clear what it is that we are communicating about. We need to ensure that it is true Spiritualism that is conveyed, not spiritualism which a small ‘s’ which has had tagged onto it all the sundry new age ideas and ‘anything goes’ attitudes. If we are to have TV mediums, let them be Spiritualist TV mediums, not people who, having learned their craft from the Spiritualist movement, then spend their time travelling around the world demonstrating psychism and often mediocre mediumship whilst never once mentioning the philosophical basis behind what they do, or why presenting evidence of survival is so important.

  6. My name is Charleene Deaver and I am a student pastor, living at Camp Edgewood in Milton, Washington. I am so heartbroken at what I am seeing even in our small group. I fear that no one has the respect for their Churches or themselves spiritually. I also find there are so many who don’t believe in Jesus’s teachings. I do, and I find that I feel like an outsider when I include Jesus in my talks, which I feel is important. It’s also important to include other belief systems and doctrines. But, who are we if we can’t look at our church and feel proud and show our pride in our beliefs? I find that many people are embarrassed to tell people what there faith is. I stand in grocery lines sometimes and start conversations. Many of our checkers at our local grocery store did not even know what Camp Edgewood was. Now they know. One of my gifts that God gave me was the gift of helping with transitions. I cannot tell you how blessed I am to be the person to help them with the biggest miracle and journey in their entire life on earth. But, many of those that I see in the Spiritualist faith act embarrassed. We need to get out into the world and educate people. I tell my grandson, he’s 11, to never not be who he is and to never, never ignore or take his gifts from God for granted. But most important, to believe in what he see’s even if no one else can see it, to believe in himself enough to stand up for what he knows to be true. We need young people to stop listening to adults who tell them it’s evil, a work of the devil or it’s their imagination. We need more lyceums, we need more of us to teach where there is some one to listen to us. Oh my, I guess I did get on my soap box! So sorry!

  7. It does seem sad to see the SAGB close its doors after all the great work that has been done there. I like Lis wonder what the underlying cause for the move was.

    On the subject of signing in, perhaps that is just for insurance purposes or more likely in case of fire etc. so they have a head count.

    I certainly concur on the philosophy front, there must be more discussion about it and much more promotion of it.
    Communication is key to this movement, as has been said, but the quality has to improve. I would like to see some sort of qualification overseen by a co-operative of the major players in Spiritualism with the standards set on the evidence provided and verified! Nothing less would do….
    Well I can dream can’t I….
    Yes please, teach the children to trust their own senses, as long as what they sense is explained adequately …

    Trust Spirit to bring the best forward for each and everyone, remembering that in this life we are what we need to be for our journey as blossoming Spiritual beings, with eternity stretching out before us.

  8. It is sad to see the SAGB move. I wish I had been able to visit it before we moved to Australia. I knew the high regard Lis held for it, as she attended groups there when she first arrived from Australia and subsequently did a few demonstrations there. Oh well, it was clearly not to be and all that wonderful built up energy must be redeveloped in a new place.

    I fear it is symptomatic of the major problems that Spiritualism is facing all around the world. Declining numbers, poor standars of mediumship and philosphy. At the same time the central bodies seem more interested in power and control.

    As Lis suggested maybe its time we became, once again, a radical and free thinking movement. A new organisation is needed to try and influence standards but allow the branches of the movement Christian, Rational and even magical/metaphysical to communicate together not against each other.

  9. I too would like to know why the SAGB is leaving its home at 33 Belgrave Square. I have been attending classes there weekly for four years (and attending demonstrations and readings for 22 years) and yet nothing was mentioned to me when I last attended class in November, before the Christmas closure. Classes are due to re-start in January but I discovered their new address – and indeed news of the closure – purely by chance, on their website. Why the secrecy? Has the building been sold? Leased out? Is it a management decision for some other reason? Is it because there is a new president? Why the veil of secrecy?
    There are many regular visitors to the SAGB who may not have access to the internet – are they to find out about the closure only after reaching 33 Belgrave Square to find the doors locked?
    Regarding the issue of signing in at the door, I agree that this may put people off but the SAGB’s lack of their own front door, an entrance from the street, will, I feel, discourage even more.
    This is a very sad day.

  10. Evidentially, if people are going to sign in when they attend SAGB, it is going to create an unjustified suspicion that somehow the name may get back to the mediums, especially if the visitor is a regular sitter.

  11. Firstly may I say it was announced in the last issue of the SAGB quarterly magazine that they would be moving. I am sure there is nothing sinister about the move probably the lease ran out and as we know landords in London would hardly relet at the same price. Still if people want to know why then just ask those at the SAGB I’m sure they have nothing to hide. As to the signing in this is now required at ALL events and places where the general puplic gather by the Health and Safety Department. Also the quote that “the names of regular visitors could get back to the medium” is not saying much for the integrityof a medium. I see so many people each week that there is no way I would be able to remember all the names of the people in the audience and a good medium should tell a ptivate sitter not to come for another reading for a least a year.

    Yes it is sad that they have moved but should we not wish them luck in their new home as I’m sure it must have been upsetting for them to move. Now let us all get on with the Job as Jay Love said and make sure Spiritualism moves forwards and keeps on moving to become accepted. On this point did anyone else notice on the TV on Rememberance Sunday the commentators remark “here come ALL the leaders of ALL the religions” errrrm I didnt hear him say anything about a representative from the Spiritualist Church.

  12. I may be wrong but the news of the move was published in the most recently sent out issue of the SAGB service book for the period 12th January – 30th April. I definitely received mine after the closure. As some of our December classes there were rather hastily re-arranged at fairly short notice, students were told that this was because the Christmas and New Year closure was to be extended to a month as ‘there was going to be work done on the building.’
    Money was taken well in advance for January classes with no mention that they would be held at a different address.
    I don’t think it’s a mystery. I believe it’s a case of no one at the SAGB willing to be asked the question of why they are moving, even although we would all, I am sure, understand that they probably can’t, or couldn’t, afford to stay there. Their management may also be saddened by this closure.
    My best wishes to the SAGB for the future.
    The SAGB at 33 Belgrave Square was much loved and we are, quite simply, very sad that it has closed.

  13. duncan ferries

    I Have been going to the SAGB for over 30years and like many of its members was a little upset on the move to belgrave road.I have been there and it is an office block with no spirituality.The signing in is for safety regulations but it is done with such coldness by security men with no compassion for the problems people may have, who visit the centre.In fact the lady who is in charge Annie Blair was heard to say we are running a business not a charity which in fact it is .The lovely energy, goodwill,trust and responsible mediumship that was built up over a hundred years with The Marylebone Society as it use to be known and the SAGB has been destroyed in one fateful move by the move away from 33,belgrave square.The move was not discussed with the members or even the mediums that work there, every thing was kept so secret so it makes one wonder what has happened or will happened to the money that they will receive for the sale of the wonderful property.Since Stella Blair has taken a back seat because of ill health and her daughter Annie has taken over,a little nepotism here i think,The Sagb has slowly been declining ,doing away with many of the things that made it special,cavalcades,mediums, cafe,and the reception staff are known to be exceptionaly rude to clients.Now in the new place there are no evening demonstrations,open circles or open platforms and it closes at 6pm.The latest is they are stopping the Eastbourne seminars which are very popular and they are refusing to to pay for the accommodation of visiting mediums so some of the excellent mediums that travel there from across the country will now not be going.Lets hope the new president Charles Hutchinson will flex his muscles and stop the rot but i doubt it as his committe has in it Mrs Blairs sister and other daughter.All i can say to SAGb members turn up at the next agm like i will and vote these people off so we can return the Sagb to what it was put in place for ,spirituality and investigation into life after death through knowledge and education and bringing comfort those those in need.

    • Duncan I am pleased someone has come right out & said what a lot of people are thinking. The SAGb was a great place and what a marvellous history its got. Towards the end of its days in Belgrave Square it got to be a rather tired pathetic place, so sad when it used to be such a brilliant place for Spiritualism. Do you know how the Blair family got such a hold on it? How did it happen?

    • Does anyone know when the next AGM will be held this year 2011? It seems to me that when there is such opposing views about SAGB the best way forward is to have them addressed at the next AGM. If all members are informed with in 21 days then they can put their views forward.


  14. If the Church is so easy to run how come none of the members have offered their help and support to keep the place going? My sister and I are new to the Church and have been shown nothing but kindness and warmth from the Blair family and we appauled to see such mean spiritedness from Duncan and Dawn etc A Church is not about a building it’s about the energy and spirituality that people bring to it and they’ve both obviously missed the point. We think they need to address their own Sprituality before they start slandering such marvellous people. Shame on you!

  15. Catherine Shannon

    Here! Here! Clarence.
    Like Duncan, I too have been going to to the SAGB for over 30 years. I too am very sad about the move from 33 Belgrave Square, a place that holds many fond memories for me. It is true that in latter years attendances have dwindled, certainly compared to what it was like back in its heyday, but surely this has a little bit to do with changing factors within the spiritualist movement as a whole. With modern day mediumship now moving into the “entertainment” business – thanks to the TV and internet, mediumship is now much more accessible to the public in general. Directly because of this, I see Mediumship and the true nature of Spiritualism becoming swallowed up and tainted within what has become a very lucrative “Psychic Industry”, dangerously open to charlatans, money-grabbers and fame-seekers. It seems to me anyone (with little or no experience) can set up a business nowadays, call themselves a medium, run workshops and “development courses”, all in the name of “mediumship”. I think it’s also true to say that a lot of mediums these days do not have the patience to sit in circle for any length of time and believing themselves to be ready and qualified after say one “development” course, as working mediums, when in fact they are far from ready (indeed, in some cases – would never be ready).
    As to the comment that the SAGB has been destroyed in one fateful move – by the move! The SAGB as a movement has not been destroyed. The move, sad though it is, may well turn out to be a very positive move for the Association. I certainly hope so, and wish them all the very best for its future progression. The inference that the Blair family are somehow to blame for the current trend is wrong, gossip-mongering at its worst. Doubtless, this move is just as heart-rendering (if not moreso) as it is for all the members and anyone who has had any association with the SAGB.

  16. As someone who attended the church only a few times but is a neighbour who lives in Belgravia I would suggest that the up keep of such a stunning building is the main reason for the move. The leaseholder is Grosvenor Estates owned by the Duke of Westminster the largest land owner in the UK. Grosvenor have many many conditions in both there freeholds and leaseholds relating to the upkeep of the facade of houses within the Grosvenor Estate of which Belgrave Square is the centre piece. As a home owner in the estate my freehold states that my property must be painted every 5 years. To do this I need to hire a scaffolder whom I must choose from the Grosvenor Estates list of approved contractors who of course are double that of a regular scaffold firm, the lower part of the scaffolding must be encased with a wooden surround 6 feet high and painted cream (the same as the building must be painted which again is a stipulated colour by Grosvenor. The upper parts must be enclosed in green mesh to hide the structure and alarmed if another property is attached to mine. To have those contractors come I need to pay them Central London rates along with the congestion charge and parking at £4.40 an hour.

    I also must pay rates to Grosvenor for things such as private security and parking wardens who are employed by Grosvenor to patrol the area and gardens to maintain the private gardens around the estate. All of this along with the regular bills of gas, electricity, council tax. It really is quite ridiculous and for the millionaires and embassies on the square I’m sure there is not problem with this. However it was clear to see by looking at the facade of 33 Belgrave Square and the adjacent properties that the SAGB did not have the resources to upkeep this beautiful building. Also they had a leasehold and not freehold on the property which is had only another 30 years or so on it. It is clear the organisation would never have had the funds to buy the freehold to the property as it would cost in the tens of millions. So what do you do…. Spend money on a building which you do not own and will never do so. Do you let it deteriorate further for the next 30 years to hand it back to Grosvenor and walk away with nothing or do you take what you can, sell the remainder of the lease take that money and move to something you can afford and also have some money in the bank for the future once all the outstanding debts (of which there were many) have been paid. Grosvenor also considered the SAGB to be a business and so no special dispensations were made to the organisation which there would have been if they had recognised SAGB as a charity.

    To say it is nepotism that Annie is taking over the running of the SAGB from Stella is a disgrace. The last few years are not something you would wish on anyone. Both these lovely ladies health has suffered greatly wondering how they can keep the organisation running and the building which they both deeply love and care for.

    There are many families up and down the country who have had to do the same over the last couple of years. If you they money going out is less than what is coming in you have to make some drastic alterations. I think the move to Belgrave Road is a great alternative to there being no place at all.

    I wish the SAGB all the best in there new home and am looking forward to seeing someone who has the resources to spent on 33 Belgrave Square bring her back to full potential and not be the disgrace of the square.

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