Theosophy in Wales

Ancient & Modern

History of the Theosophical Society in Wales


The Death of Peter Freeman

May 1956


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Peter Freeman  1888 - 1956



Peter Freeman was a founder member of Cardiff Lodge and a driving force behind the Theosophical Society in Wales. At the time of his death from cancer in May 1956, he was Labour MP for Newport West, a seat he had held since 1945.


General Secretary of the TS in Wales Miss E Claudia Owen paid this tribute.


Peter Freeman


The passing of Peter Freeman on May 19th at the comparatively early age of 67 has brought sadness and a sense of great loss to many friends and fellow workers. He was always so viatl, so full of the urge to serve humanity and the animal kingdom. He joined the TS just before he reached his 21st birthday in 1909 and was, even then a Poor Law Guardian for Hoxton and absorbed in all industrial and labour questions.


Theosophy became his inspiration, and serving has ideal, for in his young days he had the great privilege of coming into close touch with Dr Besant. He was an indefatigable worker, brimful of enthusiasm, initiative and drive.


Peter Freeman came to Wales as a young man and was a founder of the Cardiff Lodge in 1911. In 1922 the Theosophical Society in Wales was granted its charter by Dr Besant, and he became the first General Secretary, an office which he held for 22 years.


In addition he served Wales in other capacities, as a pioneer in Animal Welfare work, in Local Government, in cultural movements and for two periods covering 14 years, he was a Socialist Member of Parliament for Welsh constituencies. Moreover he found time for healthy outdoor activities, being the Tennis Champion for Wales from 1919 to 1920 and also an expert swimmer.


During his life he had never a serious illness until he was taken ill in October 1955, just as he was preparing to visit India to help Rukmini Devi with her splendid animal welfare activities and also to see something of the results of Home Rule in India for which he had worked wholeheartedly in previous years.


The record of his parliamentary work is one of faithful service in the cause of universal brotherhood which included the animal kingdom. He was always the voice raised in the House of Commons when necessary to defend the rights of the animal world.


His death has left many big gaps to be filled. We wish to place on record our appreciation and gratitude and believe that he will receive the true wage of ever greater service.


E Claudia Owen


General Secretary.


Peter’s commitment to the animal welfare was exceptional. He was a lifelong vegetarian and during his illness he refused morphine for relief of intense pain because it had been developed by experiments on animals.


The term “Poor Law Guardian” means that Peter was on the Board of Governors of a Workhouse.


Peter was well remembered as a Tennis Champion but he also captained a football team and Tommy Farquaharson, who was goalkeeper for the 1927 Cardiff City FA Cup winning side, said that Peter was good enough to be a professional footballer.


Among the many people at his Memorial Service at the Methodist Church, Stow Hill, Newport were James Callaghan, a future Prime Minister and George Thomas, later Lord Tonypandy.


Peter Freeman outside Cardiff Lodge (Circa 1920)


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Theosophical Society, Cardiff Lodge,

206 Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 – 1DL.