TitleBritish Psychological Society records
Extent52 Transfer cases, 36 Box files, 6 Lever arch files, 2 Storall Boxes, 18 Bound volumes, 5 record boxes, all stated volume is subject to audit.
Physical DescriptionAlthough the early minute books have returned from preservation treatment they still remain fragile, therefore please use proper handling techniques when consulting the books.
DescriptionBritish Psychological Society (BPS) fonds relating to the activities, structure, history and administration of the Society.

The material consists of documentation in a variety of formats including minutes, correspondence, audio cassette recordings and other related material in various forms and media. British Psychological Society Photographs, film and oral history are in PHO and AUD collections. Some of the personal paper collections of people who were also involved in the Society also contain some BPS contain BPS administrative material, e.g. Kenna collection of BPS Archivist;

Sub-fonds and series reflecting the administrative structure of the parent body are available as follows:

BPS/001/1 Minutes 1901-1922
BPS/001/2 Minutes 1922-1936

BPS/001 BPS Internal-Subfonds

BPS/001/3 Central 1904-1996 (Council, AGM, General Meetings, Finance and General Purposes [later Trustees], Annual Reports, Constitution)
BPS/001/4 Boards 1971-1988
BPS/001/5 Examinations 1966-1992
BPS/001/6 Events 1958-2017
BPS/001/7 Finance I.T. and Premises 1928-1990
BPS/001/8 Organisation, Staffing and Planning 1966-1999
BPS/001/9 Membership and Subscriptions 1925-2017 (includes also Ethics) BPS/001/10 Education and Training 1963-1988
BPS/001/11 Press, Policy and Communications 1955-2010 [cataloguing in progress]
BPS/001/12 Publications and Publishing 1930-2010
BPS/001/13 External Relations [awaiting cataloguing]
BPS/001/16 Scrapbooks 1946-1974
BPS/001/17 Awards [awaiting cataloguing]
BPS/001/19 Library and Heritage Collections 1925-2006
BPS/001/20 Psychological Testing Centre

BPS/002 BPS Sub-Systems/Member Networks-Subfonds

BPS/002/1 [Regional] Branches 1932-2003
BPS/002/2 Divisions 1958-2001
BPS/002/3 Sections 1919-2013
BPS/002/4 Special Groups 1983-1999
BPS/002/5 Proposed New Subsystems

BPS/003 Child Societies and Associations-Subfonds 1891-1945

BPS/003/1 British Child Study Association
BPS/003/2 Child Study Association
BPS/003/3 Childhood Society
BPS/003/4 Child Study Society
BPS/003/5 Child Study Society London
BPS/003/6 Committee on The Mental and Physical Condition
of Children
BPS/003/7 Pamphlets
BPS/003/8 Report on the Scientific Study of the Mental
and Physical Conditions of Childhood.

BPS/004 Miscellaneous-series (small deposited papers)
BPS/004/1 Individuals 1910-1994
BPS/004/2 Pamphlets 1917-1979
BPS/004/3 The Burt Affair 1974-1993

BPS/005 Psychological Tests-series [see also USPTC University of Sussex Test collection]
Formattextual material
NotesThe History of Psychology Centre is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all our users. Be aware that our catalogue contains historic terminology relating to mental health which could be considered offensive. The terminology exists within the original record and has been retained to inform users on viewpoints at the time. It in no way reflects the attitudes of the cataloguers or the British Psychological Society.
Related MaterialAUD/001 BPS Audio Archive 1955-1999
AUD/002 BPS Oral History Project 2005-2017
PHO BPS Grace Rawlings Visual Archives 19th Century - 2017
AccessConditionsAuthorised Users. View by Appointment.
Location18: Wellcome Library Off Site Storage
16: Wellcome Library
13: BPS History of Psychology Centre, London
10: Crown Storage Ruislip
TermLearned societies
Educational psychology
Social psychology
Intelligence tests
Medical psychology
Clinical psychology
AdminHistoryA 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 teacher 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, p.116).

The titles of the first papers read
Feb. 16, 1902. The Evolution of Laughter, James Sully; Fechner‘s Paradoxical Experiment, W. McDougall; Pathological Changes in Immediate Memory and Association, W. G. SMITH.
May 3 1902 Psychophysical Parallelism, by James Ward; A Contribution to the Analysis of the Process of Comparison, F N Hales; Colour Nomenclature, by W. H. R. Rivers.
June 12, 1902. The Effect of Practice on Certain Simple Mental Activities, by W. G. Smith; A Study in Contrast, by C. Lloyd Morgan; Remarks upon Central Nervous Activity and Efferent Nerve Cells, by Francis Gotch.

Dec. 6, 1902. The Fluctuations of the Memory Image, by F. N. Hales; A Dream-experience tending to bring certain alleged Characteristics of Consciousness under Anaesthesia into line with those of the ordinary Dream-consciousness, by W. R. B. Gibbon; The ‘Feeling of Innervation’-a Suggestion, by W. Mcdougall

Jan 31 1903 Time Judgment, by Beatrice Edgell

May 2 1903 Demonstration of various types of Insanity, by Robert Jones; The Functions of the Frontal Lobes, by J. S Bolton; Bilateral Cortical Lesions causing Deafness and Sensory Aphasia, W M Mott.

July 25, 1903. Comparison of Mental Tests applied to Epileptic Patients, by W M Smith; Individual and Racial Differences in Sensory Illusions, by W H R Rivers;
The Teaching of Psychology in America, by C. S. Myers.
Oct 24 1903 A Method for tracing the Development of Secondary Emotions, A F Shand and The Taste-names of Primitive Peoples, by C. S Myers.

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.

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 subsystems 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 54 in 1908, 71 in 1912, 98 in 1918, 427 in 1919, 716 in 1926, 811 in 1931, 1,897 in 1950, rising to 2,655 in 1960. By 1982 the Society had a membership of more than 10,000.

The Society was granted a Royal Charter in 1965. On 18 December 1987, at Buckingham Palace, the Queen granted amendments to the Charter, thereby allowing the Society to maintain a Register of Chartered Psychologists. Amendments to the Statutes at Council Chamber, Whitehall followed on 18th December 1987, 3rd November 1989 and 2nd February 1994. Reforms during the last few years have radically altered the the organisational 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.

Founding members: (see names tab for full details)
Sully, James (1842-1923), MA Professor UCL
Smith, William George, MA. PhD (1866-1918) lecturer
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

Selected Annual General Meetings of the Incorporated Society (1941)

1st AGM Brighton 9 April 1942
2nd AGM Oxford 8 April 1943
3rd AGM Glasgow 30 March 1944
4th AGM Exeter 5 April 1945
5th AGM Durham 11 April 1946
6th AGM Dartford 10 April 1947
7th AGM Birmingham 10 April 1948
8th AGM Bristol 31 March 1949
9th AGM Reading 30 March 1950
10th AGM Liverpool 29 March 1951
11th AGM Oxford 27 March 1952

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" Occup.Psychol. XVII.25-43, 1943
1943 to 1944 T.H.Pear "Social Differences in English Education". Brit.J.Educ.Psychol., 14. 113-28, 1944
1944 to 1945 M.Culpin "Psychology in Medicine". 07/04/1944
1945 to 1946 G.H.Thomson "Factorial Analysis Recent Advances and a Retrospect". 13/04/1946
1946 to 1947 R.J.Bartlett "Mind.' Quart.Bull. Brit. Psychol.Soc. 1. 14-24. 1948
1947 to 1948 C.W.Valentine "Some President-Day Trends, Dangers and Possibilities in in the Field of Psychology". Brit. J.Educ. Psychol.,18. 134-47, 1948
1948 to 1949 S.J.F.Philpott "Fluctuations in Mental Output". Quart.Bull. of Brit.Psychol.Soc.1. No.7, 264-80, 1950
1949 to 1950 R.H.Thouless "The Place of Theory in Experimental Psychology". Brit.J.Psychol. 46.14-24, 1950
1950 to 1951 F.C.Bartlett "Changing Scene". Brit.J.Psychol.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 Brit. J.Psychol 44, 200-210, 1953 as "Homeostasis, Needs & Values.'
1953 to 1954 A.R.Knight "The British Psychological Society: Problems and Prospects.' Bull.Brit.Psych.Soc. No.24, 1-8, Sept.1954
1954 to 1955 P.E.Vernon "The Psychology of Intelligence" and G.' Bull.Brit.Psych.Soc. No.26, 1-14, May 1955
1955 to 1956 L.S.Hearnshaw "Temporal Integration and Behaviour.' Bull.Brit. Psych.Soc. No. 30, 1-20, Sept. 1956.
1956 to 1957 E.B.Strauss "The Anatomy of Treachery.' Bull.Brit.Psych. Soc. No.32, 1-13, May,1957.
1957 to 1958 A.Rodger "Psychologists: Non-Medical and Medical.' Bull.Brit.Psych.Soc., No.36, 1-11. Sept.1958
1958 to 1959 Magdalen D. Vernon "Experimental Psychology in Britain".Bull.Brit.Psych.Soc., No.38, 1-13, Sept.1959
1959 to 1960 F.V.Smith "Social Theory and the Basic Motives". Bull.Brit.Psych.Soc.No.42, 1-22, Sept.1960.
1960 to 1961 J.Drever (Secundus) "Perception and Action" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, No.45, Sept.1961 pp, 1-9
1961 to 1962 E.A.Peel "Learning and Meaning" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, No.48, July 1962, pp, 1-9
1962 to 1963 G.C.Drew "The Study of Accidents" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol.16, No.52, July 1963, pp,1-10
1963 to 1964 A.Summerfield "Codes and Plans and Organized Behaviour" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol. 17, No.57, Oct.1964, pp,1-17
1964 to 1965 D.E.Broadbent "Perceptual Defence and the Engineering Psychologist" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol. 18, No.60, July 1965
1965 to 1966 G.Westby "Psychology Today: Problems and Directions", Bull. Brit.psychol. Soc, Vol.19, No.65, October 1966, pp.1-19
1966 to 1967 G.Rawlings "Problems in Applying Psychology", Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol.20, No.68, July 1967, pp. 1-13
1967 to 1968 G.Seth
1968 to 1969 B.Semeonoff "Changing Horizons: An Essay in Autobiography" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol.22, 1969, pp.169 -179
1969 to 1970 R.J.Audley "Choosing" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol. 23 1970, pp.177-191
1970 to 1971 H.Gwynne Jones "In Search of an Idiographic Psychology" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol.24 1971, pp. 279-290
1971 to 1972 H.Kay "Psychology Today and Tomorrow" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol.25, 1972, pp. 177-188
1972 to 1973 M.Hamilton "Psychology in Society: Ends or End?' Bul.Brit.psychol.Soc, Vol. 26, 1973, pp. 185-189
1973 to 1974 B.M.Foss "On Taking Sides" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc., Vol.27, 1974 pp. 347-351
1974 to 1975 O.L.Zangwill "Thought and the Brain" Br.J.Psychol. 67, 3, pp.301-314
1975 to 1976 J.Tizard "Psychology and Social Policy" Bull.Brit.psychol.Soc., Vol.29, 1976 pp. 225-234
1976 to 1977 M.A.Davidson "The scientific/applied debate in psychology: A contribution, Bull.Br.psychol.Soc., 1977 Vol.30 pp.273-278
1977 to 1978 A.D.B.Clarke "Predicting human development: Problems, evidence, implications" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc.,1978 pp. 249-258
1978 to 1979 P.M.Levy "On the relation between method and substance in psychology" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc, Vol.34 1981 pp.265-270
1979 to 1980 P.H.Venables
1980 to 1981 K.J.Connolly "Psychology and poverty" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc., Vol.35 1982 pp.1-9
1981 to 1982 D.E.Blackman "Psychologists and the community: Influence and counter-influence" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc., Vol.35 1982 pp.334-341
1982 to 1983 R.R.Hetherington "Sacred cows and white elephants" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc., Vol.36 1983 pp.273-280
1983 to 1984 H.Beloff "A social psychologist in the camera culture" Bull.Br.psychol.soc., Vol.37 1984 pp.287-296
1984 to 1985 C.I.Howarth
1985 to 1986 R.M.Farr "The science of mental life: A social psychological perspective" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc.,Vol. 40 1987, pp.1-17
1986 to 1987 D.Legge "Modelling a Seamless Robe" Bull.Br.psychol.Soc.,Vol. 40 1987, pp.241-249
1987 to 1988 L.S.Pearson "Applying Scientific Psychology" ThePsy 1(7), 1988, 251-254.
1989 to 1990 M.A.Gale "Assessing Research: Citation-Count Shortcomings" ThePsy 2(8), 1989, 336-344
1990 to 1991 P.E.Morris "Applying Psychology to the Psychology Degree: Pass with First Class Honours, or Miserable Failure? ThePsy 3(11), 1990, 483-488
1991 to 1992 F.N.Watts "Is psychology falling apart?' ThePsy 5(11), 1992, 489-494
1992 to 1993 E.Miller "Psychological Treatment: Nineteenth Century Style" ThePsy 6(10), 1993, 445-450
1993 to 1994 A.M.Colley "Psychology, science and women" ThePsy 8(8), 1995, 346-352
1994 to 1995 G.Lindsay "Values, ethics and psychology" ThePsy 8(11), 1995, 493-498
1995 to 1996 S.Newstead "The psychology of student assessment" ThePsy 9(12), 1996, 543-547
1996 to 1997 M.V.McAllister "Putting psychology in context" ThePsy 11(1), 1998, 13-15
1997 to 1998 C.N.Cullen "The trouble with rules" ThePsy 11(10), 1998, 471-475
1998 to 1999 I.C.Lunt "Unity through diversity: An achievable goal" ThePsy 12(10), 1999, 492-497
1999 to 2000 P.Frankish "Thought and feeling-You can't have one without the other" ThePsy 13(8), 2000, 396-399
2000 to 2001 T.MacKay "The future belongs to psychology", The psychologist, Vol.14, Part 9, September 2001, pp.466-469
2001 to 2002 V.G.Bruce "Changing research horizons" The Psychologist, Vol.15 Part 12, December 2002 pp. 620-622
2002 to 2003 G.Davey "Doing clinical psychology research - What is interesting isn't always useful" The Psychologist, Vol.16 Part 8, August 2003 pp.412-416
2003 to 2004 A.Wedderburn "Shiftworkers - a minority who can be helped'. The Psychologist, Vol.20. Part 10, October 2007F
2004 to 2005 K.Brown Unavailable
2005 to 2006 G.Powell Unavailable
2006 to 2007 R.Miller Presidential address, The Psychologist Vol.20 Part 4, April 2007
2007 - 2008 P.Maras Unavailable
2008 - 2009 E.Campbell Unavailable
2009 - 2010 S.Gardner Unavailable
2010 - 2011 G.Mulhern
2011 - 2012 C.Allan
2012 - 2013 P.Bannister
2013- 2014 R.Mallows
2014-2015 Professor Dorothy Miell
2015-2016 Professor Jamie Hacker Hughes
2016-2017 Professor Peter Kinderman
2017-2018 Nicola Gale
2018-2019 Kate Bullen
BPS History of Psychology Centre.

Formally created in September 2002, and officially opened in in February 2004, the Centre's origins extend back to September 1956 when a BPS Honorary Archivist Jack Kenna was appointed. During his tenure Kenna accumulated a large quantity of material including taped interviews with eminent British psychologists. In 1979 Dr A. Lovie succeeded Kenna as Honorary Archivist and the collection expanded.

Dr Lovie stored the Society's material at his academic institution in Liverpool University, however by the late 1990s it was becoming clear that Liverpool was running out of space to accommodate the material. Therefore when, in 1998, the Centre for the History of Psychology was established at Staffordshire University the Society's material was transferred there, Graham Richards succeeding Dr Lovie. Access at Staffs was easier but the geographical location proved unsuitable and the material remained uncatalogued.
In 2001, following a working party recommendation, the Society created a History of Psychology Centre in London ( John Street) with Graham Richards as Director, and the material was moved there in September 2002 , cataloguing began at John Street in July 2003.

In 2006 the Society moved from John Street to a new London office in Tabernacle Street where the Centre is now based, most of the now catalogued material (but not the audio/visual archive) was transferred to remote storage in Ruislip in preparation for its transfer to Wellcome Library sometime in 2009.
RulesDescription compiled in line with the following standard
ISAD (G) General International Standard Archival Description.
ArchNoteCompiled by Mike Maskill BPS Archivist for the History of Psychology Centre.

Show related Persons records.

BPS/GB/04The British Psychological Society; 1901-; BPS1901-
BPS/GB/61Sully; James (1842-1923); Professor; HonFBPsS1842-1923
BPS/GB/58Rivers; William Halse Rivers (1864-1922); Dr; FRCP, FRS1864-1922
BPS/GB/54Bryant; Sophia (Sophie) (1850-1922); Dr; nee Willock1850-1922
BPS/GB/56McDougall; William (1871-1938); Professor; FRS, HonFBPsS1871-1938
BPS/GB/60Smith; William George (1866-1918); Dr1866-1918
BPS/GB/55Hales; Frank Noel (1878-1952); BA1878-1952
BPS/GB/59Shand; Alexander Faulkner (1858-1936); FBA, HonFBPsS1858-1936
BPS/GB/53Gibson Boyce; William Ralph (1869-1935); Professor; DSc1869-1935
BPS/GB/52Jones-Armstrong; Sir; Robert (1857-1943); Professor; FRCP, CBE, FRCS, DL, JP1857-1943
BPS/GB/57Mott; Sir; Frederick Walker (1853-1926); M.D.Lond., LL.D.Edin., FRS1853-1926
BPS/GB/152Audley; Robert John (1928-2020); Professor; FBPsS1928-2020
BPS/GB/112Broadbent; Donald Eric (1926-1993); Professor; CBE FRS1926-1993
BPS/GB/36Semeonoff; Boris (1910-1998); Professor; Dr1910-1998
BPS/GB/25Rawlings; Grace (1909-1988); OBE, FBPsS1909-1988
BPS/GB/600Culpin; Millais (1874-1952); Professor1874-1952
BPS/GB/504Strauss; Eric Benjamin (1894-1961); Dr; FBPsS1894-1961
BPS/GB/43Flugel; John Carl (1884-1955); Professor; HonFBPsS1884-1955
NA1History of Psychology Centre/Staffordshire University/College Road/Staffordshire/Stoke on Trent
NA5BPS Archives Liverpool/The University of Liverpool/Liverpool
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