British Psychological Society Archive
- British Psychological Society (est.1901)
- Archives and manuscripts
About this work
British Psychological Society records relating to the activities, structure, history and administration of the Society.
BPS/1 British Psychological Society Internal:
BPS/1/1 Minutes (of General Meetings)
BPS/1/2 Minutes (of General Meetings)
BPS/1/3 Central (mainly Council minutes)
BPS/1/4 Committees of the BPS
BPS/1/5 BPS Examination Boards
BPS/1/6 BPS Events
BPS/1/7 Finance, I.T. and Premises
BPS/1/9 Membership and Subscriptions
BPS/1/10 Miscellaneous I
BPS/1/11 Miscellaneous II
BPS/1/12 Publications and Publishing
BPS/1/14 Working Parties
BPS/1/15 Annual Reports and Royal Charter (held by the BPS. See also 1/3/13)
BPS/1/16-18 BPS Scrapbooks
BPS/2 British Psychological Society Sub-Systems: (not yet available; large proportion of this section retained by the BPS)
BPS/2/1 BPS Branches
BPS/2/2 BPS Divisions
BPS/2/3 BPS Sections
BPS/2/4 Special Groups
BPS/3 Child Study Society London and associated bodies
BPS/4 Various Miscellaneous: individuals and printed material
BPS/5 Tests (this section retained by the BPS)
The British Psychological Society archive also comprises a number of collections of personal papers and some papers of organisations that have been presented to the society over a period of years. The collection catalogues (with a few exceptions which are retained by the BPS) can be browsed by searching on name or the reference. They are as follows:
PSY/APU MRC Applied Psychology Unit Pamphlets, Reprints and Projects (deposited in the British Library by the BPS)
PSY/ATP Association for Teaching Psychology
PSY/BRD Broadbent, Donald
PSY/BUR Burt, Sir Cyril Lodowic (retained by the BPS)
PSY/CHE Cherns, Albert
PSY/DAV Davidson, May Alison
PSY/DUN Duncan, David C.
PSY/EDW Edwards, Elwyn
PSY/GRA Rawlings, Grace
PSY/HAN Handyside, John Duncan
PSY/HAW Haward, Lionel
PSY/HEA Hearnshaw, Leslie Spencer
PSY/HOL Holdstock, Leonard
PSY/HUN Hunter, Ian
PSY/ING Ingham John 'Jack'
PSY/KEN Kenna, John Corbett
PSY/LIV Liverpool University
PSY/MCK McKellar, Peter
PSY/MYE Myers, Charles Samuel
PSY/NAT Nathan, Esphir
PSY/ONR US OFfice of Naval Research (retained by the BPS)
PSY/RAV Raven, John Carlyle
PSY/SEM Semeonoff, Boris
PSY/SNM Study for the Study of Normal Man / Psychology (retained by the BPS)
PSY/SPE Spearman, Charles Edward
PSY/STE Steer, D. P.
PSY/SUM Summerfield, Sir Arthur
PSY/TAJ Tajfel, Henri
PSY/TOL Leytham, G. W.: Papers relating to E. C. Tolman
PSY/USX The University of Sussex Psychological Test Collection (retained by the BPS)
PSY/VAL Valentine, Charles Wilfred
PSY/WLN Walton, Donald
PSY/WOL Wolff, Charlotte
PSY/YAT Yates, Aubrey James
Some records in this collection are still retained by the BPS. See Section level records PSY/BPS/1 and 4 for full details.
PSY/BPS/2 is largely still retained by the BPS. Contact the BPS or Archives and Manuscripts, Wellcome Library, for further details.
PSY/BPS/5 is entirely still retained by the BPS. Contact the BPS for further details.
A Short History of The British Psychological Society
The Psychological Society was founded on 24 October 1901 at University College London. Its aim was 'to advance scientific psychological research, and to further the co-operation of investigators in the various branches of Psychology.' The ten founders resolved 'that only those who are recognised teachers in some branch of psychology or who have published work of recognisable value be eligible as members'. As the Society's first historian later recalled, the change of name to The British Psychological Society in 1906 'was not due to any sudden uprising of imperial pride, but to the fact that members had discovered another body of persons who were using the former title. To prevent confusion with this unacademic group the change in title was agreed to.' (Edgell, 1947: 116).
Membership increased steadily until the First World War. Upon his return from serving in the Royal Army Medical Corps in November 1918, the then editor of the British Journal of Psychology initiated changes that would have revolutionary consequences for British psychology. An advisor to the journal since its creation by James Ward and W. H. R. Rivers in 1904, Charles Myers had become its sole editor in 1914, the year in which it was acquired by the British Psychological Society.
Myers suggested that the Society should support sections for specialised aspects of applied psychology, noting that medical, industrial and educational psychology groups were already moving to establish separate organizations. Following the acceptance of his proposal that anyone merely 'interested in psychology' (not just recognised scholars or teachers) should be allowed to join, by the end of 1920 membership had increased to over 600. Myers was duly elected the Society's first President.
Note: In February 1919 rules were altered to change the Executive Committee to a Council and the office of President was established
Although the 1919 reforms brought 'a welcome release from the genteel penury of the past' (Lovie, 2001), they also initiated a long-running debate between the Society's professional and scientific constituencies. As the century continued, opportunities increased for psychologists working in more areas of life, including health, education, work and the law. The Society restructured a number of times, forming various divisions, boards, committees and sub-systems to accommodate members' many interests.
A register of professional psychologists was set up in the 1930s. The Society was Incorporated in 1941. The Quarterly Bulletin of the British Psychological Society was launched in 1948. Its editor was Frederick Laws, a journalist with the News Chronicle. Membership of the British Psychological Society stood at 1,897 in 1950, rising only to 2,655 in 1960. By 1982 the Society had a membership of more than 10,000. It now stands at over 36,000 .
The Society was granted a Royal Charter in 1965. On December 18, 1987, at Buckingham Palace, the Queen granted amendments to the Charter, thereby allowing the Society to maintain a Register of Chartered Psychologists. Reforms during the last few years have radically altered the the organizational structure once again. The Society's main administrative offices had moved to Leicester in the 1970s. With the purchase of additional offices in London in 2000, the British Psychological Society symbolically returned to the city in which it was founded almost a century before.
Sully, James (1842-1923], MA Professor
Smith, William George, MA. PhD (1866-1972) lecturer
Sully and Smith met with the following persons at University College London to form a psychological society (24 October 1901) which became the British Psychological Society in 1906:
Jones-Armstrong, Robert (1859-1943), CBE, MD, FRCP, FRCS physician
Bryant, Sophie (1850-1922), DSc., DLitt. headmistress
Gibson Boyce, William Ralph, MA, DSc.(1869-1935) lecturer
Hales, Frank Noel, BA (1878-1952) scholar
McDougall, William, MA, DSc., MD, FRS (1871-1938) experimental psychologist
Mott, Frederick Walter, KBE, MD, FRCP, LLD, FRS (1853-1926) pathologist
Rivers, William Halse Rivers, MA, MD, FRS (1864-1922) lecturer
Shand, Alexander Faulkner, MA. (1858-1936) barrister
Presidents of The British Psychological Society 1920-2008: (subject to revision)
1920 to 1923 C. S. Myers (No Presidential Address)
1923 to 1926 C. E. Spearman (No Presidential Address)
1926 to 1929 F. Aveling (No Presidential Address)
1929 to 1932 Beatrice Edgell (No Presidential Address)
1932 to 1935 J. C. Flugel (No Presidential Address)
1935 to 1938 J. Drever (Primus) "The Status and Qualifications of Professional Psychologists" 14/12/1935
1938 to 1941 A. W. Wolters (No Presidential Address)
1941 to 1943 C. Burt "British Psychology in War-time" published as "Psychology in War": The Military Work of American & German Psychologists" Occupational Psychology. XVII.25-43, 1943
1943 to 1944 T. H. Pear "Social Differences in English Education" British Journal of Educational Psychology, 14. 113-28, 1944
1944 to 1945 M. Culpin "Psychology in Medicine", 7/4/1944
1945 to 1946 G. H. Thomson "Factorial Analysis Recent Advances and a Retrospect" 13/4/1946
1946 to 1947 R. J. Bartlett "Mind." Quarterly Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 1. 14-24. 1948
1947 to 1948 C. W. Valentine "Some President-Day Trends, Dangers and Possibilities in in the Field of Psychology". British Journal of Educational Psychology, 18. 134-47, 1948
1948 to 1949 S. J. F. Philpott "Fluctuations in Mental Output". Quarterly Bulletin of the British Psychological Society 1. No.7, 264-80, 1950
1949 to 1950 R. H. Thouless "The Place of Theory in Experimental Psychology". British Journal of Psychology 46. 14-24, 1950
1950 to 1951 F. C. Barlett "Changing Scene". British Journal of Psychology 47, 181-87, 1956
1951 to 1952 W. Brown "Mind, Medicine & Mathematics."
1952 to 1953 C. A. Mace"A Psychologist's Approach to the Theory of Values." in British Journal of Psychology 44, 200-210, 1953 as "Homeostasis, Needs & Values."
1953 to 1954 A. R. Knight "The British Psychological Society: Problems and Prospects." Bulletin of the British Psychological Society No.24, 1-8, Sep.1954
1954 to 1955 P.E.Vernon "The Psychology of Intelligence" and G." Bulletin of the British Psychological Society No.26, 1-14, May 1955
1955 to 1956 L. S. Hearnshaw "Temporal Integration and Behaviour." Bulletin of the British Psychological Society No. 30, 1-20, Sep 1956
1956 to 1957 E. B. .Strauss "The Anatomy of Treachery." Bulletin of the British Psychological Society No.32, 1-13, May,1957
1957 to 1958 A.Rodger "Psychologists: Non-Medical and Medical." Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, No.36, 1-11. Sep 1958
1958 to 1959 Magdalen D. Vernon "Experimental Psychology in Britain". Bulletin of the British Psychological Society, No.38, 1-13, Sep 1959
1959 to 1960 F. V. Smith "Social Theory and the Basic Motives". Bulletin of the British Psychological Society No.42, 1-22, Sep 1960
1960 to 1961 J. Drever (Secundus)
1961 to 1962 E. A. Peel
1962 to 1963 G. C. Drew
1963 to 1964 A. Summerfield
1964 to 1965 D. E. Broadbent
1965 to 1966 G. Westby
1966 to 1967 G. Rawlings
1967 to 1968 G. Seth
1968 to 1969 B. Semeonoff
1969 to 1970 R. J. Audley
1970 to 1971 H. Gwynne Jones
1971 to 1972 H. Kay
1972 to 1973 M. Hamilton
1973 to 1974 B. M. Foss
1974 to 1975 O. L. Zangwill
1975 to 1976 J. Tizard
1976 to 1977 M. A. Davidson
1977 to 1978 A. D. B. Clarke
1978 to 1979 P. M. Levy
1979 to 1980 P. H. Venables
1980 to 1981 K. J. Connolly
1981 to 1982 D. E. Blackman
1982 to 1983 R. R. Hetherington
1983 to 1984 H. Beloff
1984 to 1985 C. I. Howarth
1985 to 1986 R. M. Farr
1986 to 1987 D. Legge
1987 to 1988 L. S. Pearson
1989 to 1990 M. A. Gale
1990 to 1991 P. E. Morris
1991 to 1992 F. N. Watts
1992 to 1993 E. Miller
1993 to 1994 A. M. Colley
1994 to 1995 G. Lindsay
1995 to 1996 S. Newstead
1996 to 1997 M. V. McAllister
1997 to 1998 C. N. Cullen
1998 to 1999 I. C. Lunt
1999 to 2000 P. Frankish
2000 to 2001 T. MacKay
2001 to 2002 V. G. Bruce
2002 to 2003 G. Davey
2003 to 2004 A. Wedderburn
2004 to 2005 K. Brown
2005 to 2006 G. Powell
2006 to 2007 R. Miller
2007 to 2008 P. Maras
This collection contains uncatalogued material which is currently unavailable to researchers. We regret that we are unable to provide access to this material. For more information, please contact the Archives and Manuscripts department..
The following is an interim description of material that has been acquired since this collection was catalogued. This description may change when cataloguing takes place in future:
15 transfer boxes of additional institutional records, c.1980s, received February 2009 (acc. 1645).
1 large box of additional institutional records, c.1980s, received May 2009 (acc. 1663).
Further accruals are expected.
British Psychological Society accession number 0037.