The Royal Meteorological Society

It was in the library at Hartwell House on 3 April 1850 that the British Meteorological Society was founded, later renamed 'Royal Meteorological Society' in 1883, incorporated by royal charter and granted 'Royal' by Her Majesty Queen Victoria.

Hartwell Library

Founding of the British Meteorological Society

On Wednesday 3rd April 1850, ten gentlemen assembled in the library of Hartwell House. According to the minutes of the meeting, they gathered “to form a society the objects of which should be the advancement and extension of meteorological science by determining the laws of climate and of meteorological phenomena in general”. They called the society the British Meteorological Society and appointed as its president Samuel Charles Whitbread, a grandson of the founder of the famous brewing firm. The society they formed still exists and flourishes. It became The Meteorological Society in 1866, when it was incorporated by royal charter, and the Royal Meteorological Society in 1883, when Her Majesty Queen Victoria granted the privilege of adding ‘Royal’ to the title.

Besides Whitbread, those present at the meeting on 3rd April 1850 were Dr John Lee, the owner of Hartwell House, the Reverend Samuel King of Latimer, near Cheltenham, the Reverend Joseph Bancroft Reade of Stone Vicarage, near Aylesbury, the Reverend Charles Lowndes of Hartwell Rectory, James Glaisher, Superintendent of the Magnetic and Meteorological Department of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, Edward Joseph Lowe of Highfield House, near Nottingham, Vincent Fasel of Stone, near Aylesbury, John Drew of Southampton and William Rutter of Haverstock Hill, north-west London. Mr Glaisher was appointed Honorary Secretary and Dr Lee Honorary Treasure