Joseph & Martha Brotherton
Husband and wife, Joseph and Martha Brotherton, were the pioneering vegetarians of nineteenth century Salford. Members of the Bible Christian Church founded by Rev. William Cowherd, they were dedicated practitioners of the church's two leading principles of teetotalism and vegetarianism.
Martha Brotherton was the anonymous author of the first ever vegetarian cookbook. Originally published as a periodical in 1812, later collected editions would carry the title 'Vegetable Cookery: With an Introduction, Recommending Abstinence from Animal Food and Intoxicating Liquors'. With over 1,000 recipes including Stewed Herb Pie, and Apricot, Goosberry and Apple Pudding, the book also contained home remedies and household tips such as how to humanely prevent mice infestation. Her husband Joseph would provide the introduction:
"Animal food, therefore, must always be more or less dangerous. For it is impossible for us to take into our stomachs putrefying, corrupting, and diseased animal substances, without being subjected to foul bodily diseases, weaknesses, corruptions, and premature death. If, then, we would enjoy health ourselves, and avoid laying the foundation of disease in our offspring, we must cease to degrade and bestialize our bodies by making them the burial-places for the carcasses of innocent brute animals, some healthy, some diseased, and all violently murdered."
Joseph Brotherton was a leading industrialist turned social-reformer. Following the Reform Act of 1832, he was elected as Salford's first Member of Parliament. Like many vegetarians of the day, the Brothertons' philosophy was rooted in a Christian reverence for all life. Joseph's political career was notable for his opposition to child labour and slavery, his pacifism, and a liberal economic outlook. He claimed to be the first MP to speak out in parliament against capital punishment.
Joseph would in be instrumental to the foundation of the Vegetarian Society in 1847.