Society of Antiquaries of London

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Entrance to the Society of Antiquaries at Burlington House

The Society of Antiquaries of London (SAL) ( London Society for antiquarians ) is the leading British learned society for historic preservation and has its headquarters in Burlington House on Piccadilly in London . The members of the society are referred to as Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries (FSA) .

The society was founded in 1707 and today has 2300 members. These include numerous archaeologists , art historians and architectural scholars , who often also hold important positions in the preservation of culture and monuments. The main goals of the society are the promotion of research , the publication of the research results and the promotion of the public interest in the cultural heritage. The society does not receive any direct support from public funds.


The origins of the society go back to 1586, when the College of Antiquaries was founded, which dealt with the ancient world, but had more of the character of a debating club . With King James I, however, the society aroused displeasure, so that in 1614 he forbade further meetings. There is some evidence that an informal society continued into the seventeenth century. With the establishment of the Royal Society in 1660, social interest in archeology also increased significantly. It was not until the eighteenth century that the company was re-established.

The first official meeting of the society took place on Friday, December 5th . / December 16, 1707 greg. held in the Bear Tavern on the Strand in London. In January of the following year they met at the Young Devil Tavern . Peter Le Neve was elected the first president. The members decided that the society should focus on antiquities and treasures, especially the history of Great Britain. From 1717 the company met in the Miter Tavern on Fleet Street . The minutes of the ordinary meetings have been preserved since then.

In 1725 the company met at Gray's Inn , then at King's Bench Walk, and finally again at Miter Tavern in 1729 . 1751, the Company received from King George II. A royal statute ( Royal Charter ). Accordingly, the task is to encourage, develop and promote studies and knowledge about cultural assets and history in this and other countries. The basic structure of the management of the Company with the annual election of the board at St George's Day ( St. George's ) also dates from this period.

In 1753 the company left the Miter Tavern and moved to the former Robin's Coffee House on Chancery Lane . In 1780 the company moved again and resided from now on in Somerset House , which had been built in 1776 by William Chambers . These rooms, now part of the Courtauld Institute Art Galleries , still have the Society's SA monogram as ceiling decoration. In the middle of the second half of the nineteenth century, however, due to the extensive administration, another move to a larger building complex became inevitable. In December 1874, the company finally moved into specially converted premises in Burlington House on Piccadilly, which had been designed by the architects Banks and Barry for this purpose.

Also housed in Burlington House are:


The members of the Society call themselves Fellows and have an excellent knowledge of the antiquities and history of the British nation and other countries. Membership proposals can only be submitted by members. The Secretary General and the staff at Burlington House have no authority to assist any person with this matter. The subsequent vote, in which all members can participate, is secret and it is entirely possible that applicants will be rejected. The number of members is limited by the statutes and is currently 2300. The current policy of the Society is to increase the membership in the next few years to 3000.


Between 1770 and 1991 the society published the scientific journal Archaeologia . The Antiquaries Journal has been the main periodical publication since 1921 .

Known members

see category: Member of the Society of Antiquaries of London

The German archeology pioneer Heinrich Schliemann was made an honorary member in 1876.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Archaeologia , University of Cambridge
  2. ^ The Antiquaries Journal , University of Cambridge
  3. ^ Editions of The Antiquaries Journal , University of Cambridge
  4. ^ Publications of the Society of Antiquaries of London