Our mission is to advance excellence in the chemical sciences and this has been the case since 1841 when 77 scientists – including doctors, academics, manufacturers and entrepreneurs – formed the Chemical Society of London, with dialysis inventor Thomas Graham as their first President.
Seven years later Queen Victoria granted a Royal Charter to the Society, confirming its purpose of "the general advancement of Chemical Science".
After 175 years our mission is just as relevant and valid; our work today still fulfils the roles undertaken by all four long-established bodies. But we pursue that mission on a scale the first 77 members would find inconceivable. We now have over 50,000 members across the world, an internationally-renowned not-for-profit publishing and knowledge business, and a reputation as an influential champion for the chemical sciences.
Explore more of our history
Our origins can be traced through the history of our predecessor societies: the Chemical Society, the Society for Analytical Chemistry, the Royal Institute of Chemistry and the Faraday Society.
As the oldest chemical society in the world, we're proud to be celebrating our 175th anniversary during 2016.
Discover how Burlington House became the home of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and seven other societies.
Since 1841, a president elected from the membership has led our organisation as chair of our council. You can find a list of our past presidents on the Royal Society of Chemistry Wikipedia page.
We have curated a PDF booklet to tell the stories of 82 members who died in the First World War.