About the RSGS

“The Royal Scottish Geographical Society has a long and distinguished history of supporting geographical research, education and exploration.”

John George Bartholomew, by Edward Arthur Walton (1911)
John George Bartholomew, by Edward Arthur Walton (1911)

It was in 1884 that the idea of forming a Scottish Geographical Society was first suggested to Agnes Livingstone Bruce, the daughter of David Livingstone.   The proposal was made by the cartographer John George Bartholomew, whose grandfather George Bartholomew founded the famous map-making company.  Mrs Bruce was delighted by the idea, and the eminent Scottish geologist James Geikie also gave it his blessing.

Three years later, the Scottish Geographical Society was granted Royal status by Queen Victoria.  As membership figures began to soar, the Society’s headquarters were opened by Sir Henry Morton Stanley, who gave a lecture about his exploration of Africa.   From then onwards, the Visitors’ Book began to fill with names that are now legends, and some of the most brilliant academic minds of the day began to shape the future of the Society and campaign for the acceptance of geography as an academic subject.

Audiences packed into lecture rooms to hear explorers recount breathtaking tales of survival;  some of them had only just stepped off their ship, and the world was waiting to know their story.  The RSGS became a leading light in the field of geographical knowledge, fostering close ties with figures such as Ernest Shackleton and William Speirs Bruce.   Medals were awarded, Fellowships created, and the Society’s periodical, the Scottish Geographical Journal, forged a worldwide reputation for excellence.

RSGS LogoToday, the RSGS continues this great work.   With its headquarters in Perth, it is now an educational charity which promotes an understanding of natural environments and human societies, and how they interact.  Every year sees a new and exciting programme of lectures at regional centres throughout Scotland, and the Society plays an active role in debating geographical and environmental issues on the world stage.

To find out more about the RSGS and how you can support their work, visit their website, www.rsgs.org

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