Our History

The idea for a national society of geography in Scotland was first proposed by John George Bartholomew, of the Bartholomew map-making company in Edinburgh. Bartholomew believed that Scotland was suffering from many missed opportunities for the development of geographical education, science, trade and political knowledge of the world. The 24-year old introduced the idea to the daughter of David Livingstone, Agnes Livingstone-Bruce, herself a keen geographer with a particular interest in Africa. With an outline for the proposed society and with the support of Professor James Geikie, a Professor of Geology at the University of Edinburgh who had an interest in the advancement of geographical research and teaching, the Scottish Geographical Society (SGS) was established in December 1884.

The aims of the Society were diverse, with greater emphasis on research and education than on exploration. The first edition of the Scottish Geographical Magazine stated “…it is therefore one of the first objectives of the Scottish Geographical Society to advance the study of geography in Scotland: to impress the public with the necessity and inestimable value of a thorough knowledge of geography in a commercial, scientific or political education”. The early work of the Society was supported by a diverse membership, with prominent men and women from various scientific and academic backgrounds providing a broad and intellectual emphasis to its aims, as well as members of the general public who joined to discover more about the world and the scientific and explorative activities of the day. Queen Victoria granted Royal Status to the Society in 1887.

RSGS -Our History

Finding The RSGS

In the 130 years since the very first meeting of members in the Hall of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce at 11 Melbourne Place, many rooms, buildings and cities have hosted the offices and meetings of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS)…Read More