I am not in a position to say that no one used the name before us. I would have thought it rather likely that it had been used.
I am fairly sure that no one still functioning has been using the title as long as us.
As far as I can tell, and it isn’t a priority study for me, Writers Forum was a section of Hatfield Arts Together, of which the secretary was the late Bob Cobbing. Writers Forum separated itself from the other activities and, in 1963, started publishing.
It continues still.
Bob died in 2002, passing on press and management of the workshop to Lawrence Upton and Adrian Clarke. In July 2010, Adrian resigned. Lawrence Upton continues.
I recall Bob telling me that he had been contacted by another “Writers Forum” demanding he cease his activities because he was using their name. That went nowhere.
Until recently, all the other writers forums were clearly not us and anyone looking for us and finding them would be mightily confused.
More recently, a group, some of whom had been attendees at Writers Forum, set up their own workshop.
Very dishonestly, in my opinion, they are using the name “Writers Forum” and recently scheduled their meeting on the same time and day as ours. The aim is clearly to fool people into attending their meeting in the belief it is ours in some kind of capitalist fight to the death.
An alternative is fine. This is an alternative seeking to abolish the alternative.