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.
These four bodies merged in 1980 to form The Royal Society of Chemistry, which was granted a new Royal Charter in 1980.
The Chemical Society
In 1841, 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”.
The Chemical Society was formed as a result of increased interest in scientific matters. One of its aims was to hold meetings for "the communication and discussion of discoveries and observations, an account of which shall be published by the Society".
The Chemical Society of London succeeded where a number of previous chemical associations failed. One assertion of a cause of its success is that it was, unlike its forerunners, a "fruitful amalgamation of the technological and academic chemist". Its activities expanded over the years, including eventually becoming a major publisher in the field of chemistry.
The Royal Institute of Chemistry
The Institute of Chemistry of Great Britain was formed in 1877 to respond to the need for properly-qualified chemists. This later became the Royal Institute of Chemistry and its role was to focus on qualifications and professional status. Its main aims were to work towards the advancement of the profession of chemistry and to ensure that consulting and analytical chemists were thoroughly and properly qualified in chemistry and its application.
They awarded their own qualifications of Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry (FIC) and Associate of the Institute of Chemistry (AIC). In 1975, thanks to a Supplemental Charter, their Fellows and Members were allowed to use the designation Chartered Chemist (CChem).
The Society for Analytical Chemistry
The chemical industry grew rapidly during the nineteenth century. In the UK, developments in the alkali industry, in explosives, in agriculture, and in other fields of chemistry produced a growing need for analytical chemists. Many of these chemists had little or no training in chemistry and their lack of expertise led to a danger of contamination of substances in areas such as food, water supplies and medicine.
Parliament passed an Act to try to improve the situation. But insufficient knowledge of the science, coupled with a shortage of analytical chemists, prevented these legal measures from overcoming the problems. It was in order to improve the science of analytical chemistry that a new body, The Society of Public Analysts, was formed in 1874 and subsequently became the Society for Analytical Chemistry.
The Faraday Society
Founded in 1903 the Faraday Society is named in honour of 19th century chemist Michael Faraday. Specifically interested in physical chemistry, this society published research in this field until 1971 when the Royal Society of Chemistry took over the publication.
After the amalgamation some of the activities organised by the Faraday Society became part of the work carried out by the Faraday Division, namely the Faraday Discussions, a series of international discussion meetings with more than 100 years of history. Research papers are distributed to all participants before the meeting, and most of the meeting is devoted to discussing the papers. The papers and the discussions are then published in the journal Faraday Discussions.