History of the Society

A society for “The improvement of the Arts and Sciences” from 1802

0n the 5th November 1802, three Glaswegian gentlemen, John Roberton, William Douglas, and Peter Nicholson, acting on behalf of a number of others in the city who were ‘interested in the prosperity of the Trades and Manufactures of their country’, and anxious for ‘the improvement of the Arts and Sciences’ sent a circular letter proposing a meeting to discuss the establishment of a society for this purpose. Interested parties were requested to attend a meeting to be held four days later at the Prince of Wales Tavern in Brunswick Street. Twenty-two individuals duly attended and appointed a committee `to draw up an outline of the principles of the Society’ to be presented at the next meeting which was held on r6th November. Sixty persons met and subscribed to the setting up of the Glasgow Philo-sophical Society. Included in the ‘principles’ were a private meeting room and the creation of a library of scientific books. One month later on the 8th December, the first council of four officials and twelve directors was elected, with an entrance fee of three guineas to join the Society and an annual subscription of to/6 also being agreed. The first officials were William Meikle-ham (President), John Roberton (Vice President and also member-ship certificate no.1), James Laird (Secretary) and John Lindsay (Treasurer).