AIM25 : Click here to go back to the AIM25 homepage
Archives in London and the M25 area

Royal Statistical Society Archives

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 1060 RSS
Held at: Royal Statistical Society
  Click here to find out how to view this collection at ›
Full title: Royal Statistical Society Archives
Date(s): 1834-2000
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: c100 linear feet
Name of creator(s): Statistical Society of London
Statistical Society
Royal Statistical Society


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Society was founded in London in 1834 and incorporated by royal charter in 1887. The founding aims were " the collection and classification of all facts illustrative of the present condition and prospects of Society, especially as it exists in the British Dominions". The founders included Charles Babbage and T.R. Malthus and members of the Society were, and are, known as Fellows. From the beginning there has been no bar on women as either Fellows or guests at meetings. Through its Fellows, the Society has always had close connections with Government as well as with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the London School of Economics. The new Society organised itself into a number of Committees to investigate the several branches of statistics and compile new and reliable data. Very soon it became clear that this broad approach and imposed structure could not be maintained and in 1837 the Committee on the practical working of the Society reported almost total failure of the Committee structure as established with only the Medical Committee still in existence. In future Committees would be established on an ad hoc basis as required by Fellows or following requests to the Society. An initial aim of the Society had been to establish and develop a Library of statistical works and the demise of the committee structure led to the decision to concentrate on building up the Library. The other principle activities of the Society were the publication of a Journal and the holding of monthly meetings at which papers were delivered and discussed by Fellows and their guests. A continuing concern of the Society has been the development of an efficient census system. The Society's activities began to expand in the 20th century with the establishment of the Industrial and Agricultural Research Section. In 1993 the Institute of Statisticians, founded in 1948 as a professional and examining body for statisticians, was merged with the Society. Today the Society is the main professional and learned society for statisticians which awards professional status, validates university courses and runs examinations world-wide. The Society has had a variety of London addresses. It was originally based in offices at Royal Society of Literature, moved to 11 Regent Street in 1843 and within 2 years to offices on the ground floor of the London Library. The next move, in 1874, was to share offices with the Institute of Actuaries in the Principal's House at King's College. Ten years later the Society moved to a more permanent home at 9 Adelphi Terrace where it remained until moving to 4 Portugal Street in 1936, then in 1954 to 21 Bentinck Street, to 25 Enford Street in 1975, and finally to its present premises in Errol Street in 1995.


Scope and content/abstract:

Archives of the Royal Statistical Society, 1834-2000, comprising reports of Council, lists of Fellows and byelaws, 1834-2000; minutes of Council and committees, Anniversary, Annual and Ordinary meetings, 1834-1995; Fellowship records, 1834-2000; administration records, 1834-1980s; finance records, 1834-1980s; minutes and papers of research and study Sections; and Library registers, catalogues and papers, 1851-2000.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The archives are arranged as indicated in Scope and Content above.

Conditions governing access:

Generally open after 20 years except for confidential information or for reasons of personal privacy.

Conditions governing reproduction:

At the discretion of the consultant Archivist and in accordance with copyright.

Finding aids:

Outline catalogue

Archival Information

Archival history:

The Society has changed premises 9 times causing significant gaps in the archives, especially in the later 19th century. Work began on organising and cataloguing the archives in 1998 and the material currently available is primarily that which had been brought together at that time .

Immediate source of acquisition:

Internal transfer

Allied Materials

Related material:

National Register of Archives: Click here to view NRA record

Publication note:

H.W. Macrosty, Annals of the Royal Statistical Society 1834-1934 (RSS, 1934); R.L. Plackett "Royal Statistical Society: The Last Fifty Years, 1935-1984" Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (General), Vol. 147, No. 2 (1984), pp.140-150; S. Rosenbaum "The Growth of the Royal Statistical Society" Journal of the Royal Statistical Society. Series A (General), Vol. 147, No. 2 (1984), pp. 375-388.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Janet Foster, Archives Consultant, RSS.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
October 2000.

Related Subject Search

* To search for other records with similar subjects, tick any subjects above then click "Run New Search"

Related Corporate Name Search

* To search for other records with similar names, tick any names above then click "Run New Search"