The Parent Societies

The BGA benefits from having two Parent Societies – both  located at Burlington House, Piccadilly, London which was developed by the government in the 19th Century as a meeting place for the arts and sciences. They share the courtyard with the Royal Academy of Arts, the Society of Antiquaries of London, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Linnean Society of London.

The Geological Society

PrintThe Geological Society of London was founded in 1807.  It is the UK national society for geoscience, and the oldest geological society in the world.

The Society is a Registered Charity (Number 210161), and provides a wide range of professional and scientific support to over 10,000 Fellows (members), about 2000 of whom live overseas.  More than 2000 Fellows are also Chartered Geologists.

As well as boasting one of the most important geological libraries in the world, the Geological Society is a global leader in Earth science publishing, and is renowned for its cutting edge science meetings.  It is a vital forum in which Earth scientists from a broad spectrum of disciplines and environments can exchange ideas, and is an important communicator of geoscience to government, media, those in education and the broader public.

To find out more about the aims of the Society, read Council’s January 2007 strategy.

The Royal Astronomical Society


The ‘Astronomical Society of London’ was conceived on 12 January 1820 when 14 gentlemen sat down to dinner at the Freemason’s Tavern, in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London. After an unusually short gestation the new Society was born on 10 March 1820 with the first meeting of the Council and the Society as a whole. An early setback, when Sir Joseph Banks induced the Duke of Somerset to withdraw his agreement to be the first President, was overcome when Sir William Herschel agreed to be the titular first President, though he never actually took the Chair at a meeting.

The original objectives were simply the promotion of astronomy; the newer subject of geophysics, which had been steadily gaining ground in the interests of the Fellows, was added later. After much negotiation a Royal Charter was signed by William IV on 7 March 1831, and the Society assumed the name it has used ever since. William IV also agreed to be the Society’s Patron; every subsequent monarch  has followed suit.  Since this time a set of bye-laws have been established which govern the running of the Society.

From the early years meetings were held where astronomical research and discussion could be aired. The Society at first met in various locations, including the rooms of the Geological Society, then in Bedford St, Covent Garden. Rooms were subsequently rented, for 50 guineas, from the Medical and Chirurgical (i.e. surgical) Society at 57 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, which sufficed until 1834, when the government provided accommodation in Somerset House, in the Strand: 7 (later 8) rooms were made available for the Society. In 1874 the Society moved to specially built premises in part of Burlington House, Piccadilly, which it has occupied ever since. The first meeting in this new home was held on 13 November 1874.

GJIThe RAS publishes results of original research in its major journals, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (MNRAS) and Geophysical Journal international (GJI). Astronomy & Geophysics (A&G) is the Society’s full-colour news and reviews journal, distributed to all Fellows. Geophysical Journal international (GJI) is the primary solid-Earth geophysics journal based in Europe, publishing the results of research on the Earth’s internal structure, physical properties, evolution and processes covering all aspects of theoretical, computational and observational geophysics.

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