Clapham Sect

The Clapham Sect was a group of social reformers based in Clapham, London. The group was led primarily by William Wilberforce and his cousin Henry Thorton at the beginning of the 19th century (1790–1830). They were a tight network of family and friends that shared common values, ideas, as well as a zeal for religious mission, activism, and social reform.

Their name originated from Clapham Commons located in south-west London.  While their primary goal was the abolition of slavery, author, William Hague, notes they produced one of the greatest varieties and volumes of charitable activity ever launched by any group in any age.

Some of their activities included, but are not limited to: schools in Ireland, helping the deaf and dumb children of the poor, relief to London’s urban poor, education initiatives in Africa, and a refuge for orphan girls. They founded societies for religious instruction, missionaries, as well as societies for helping the poor, educating the youth, helping soldiers, protecting young girls, as well as widows, and the elderly. The list goes on. They even were instrumental in establishing a cancer hospital, eye clinics, and a number of other medical societies to improve the health and well-being of the population.

They did all this while simultaneously fighting, and ultimately abolishing, slavery.

There is much to do in this world. As Wilberforce reminds us:

You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

The Clapham Servants thank you for your support.