KATHLEEN JANNAWAY, 1915 – 2003
Kathleen Jannaway was a teacher of biology. During World War Two, she and her husband Jack became peace campaigners, Quakers and vegetarians. In 1964, they became vegan, after learning of the cruel systems of battery cages for hens and narrow crates for veal calves.
Kathleen joined The Vegan Society and took an active part. In 1971, she retired early from teaching, to become Hon Secretary of The Vegan Society. For the next 13 years, her home in Leatherhead was the home of The Vegan Society and her life was the life of The Vegan Society! At Leatherhead, Kathleen and Jack had a garden which they cultivated on vegan-organic principles, proving that a middle-aged couple could be more or less self-sufficient on less than half an acre (0.2 hectares). That garden was also the venue for a popular series of annual garden parties in aid of The Vegan Society.
The highlight of Kathleen’s time as Hon Secretary was undoubtedly 1976, when the BBC collaborated with The Vegan Society to produce a programme in the Open Door series on the new channel, BBC2. The programme resulted in an avalanche of enquiries arriving at her home – some 9,000 in all, resulting in around 1,000 new members, taking the Society to a whole new level.
In 1984, Kathleen and The Vegan Society went their separate ways, but that was not the end of the story for Kathleen. She founded the Movement For Compassionate Living (MCL), which continued (and continues, after her death) to promote compassionate lifestyles and the importance of trees to humanity. The garden parties continued, now in aid of MCL.
After Jack’s death in 1999, Kathleen moved to Devon, where she continued to plant trees for a while, but her health failed, and she died in 2003.
But her legacy lives on, in the form of a flourishing Vegan Society!