Kitson, Alfred (1855–1934)
British pioneer of teaching Spiritualism to children
through the lyceum system first founded in the United States
by Andrew Jackson Davis around 1863. Kitson, son of a Yorkshire
coal miner, was a veteran of the Spiritualist movement at
a time when it was violently opposed in Britain. In 1876 he organized
evening classes for children on the lyceum system as
a wing of the newly formed Spiritualist Society in Yorkshire.
Kitson campaigned vigorously for the lyceum movement and
became known as ‘‘the Father of British Lyceums.’’ He collaborated
with Harry A. Kersey on the English Lyceum Manual, first
published in 1887.
Kersey and Kitson were also largely instrumental in bringing
into existence the Spiritualists’ Lyceum Union in 1890. The
Union started a monthly Spiritualists’ Lyceum Magazine, first
published in Oldham in January 1890. When this magazine
ceased publication in November 1890 it was replaced by the
Lyceum Banner, edited by J. J. Morse from Liverpool until
1902, when Kitson became editor. In 1894 the union changed
its name to the British Spiritualists’ Lyceum Union. The lyceum
movement prospered for many years, but Kitson resigned
from secretaryship of the union in 1919 because of ill health.

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