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Society for the History of Natural History

Society Rules

Society Rules


(As amended at a Special General Meeting on 19 July 2014)

  1. Name

The name of the Society shall be the Society for the History of Natural History.

  1. Objects

(a) The Society is instituted for the historical and bibliographical study of the growth of all branches of natural history in all periods and cultures.

(b) The Society shall promote the objects for which it has been founded by the issue of publications and by such other means as the Council may from time to time direct.

  1. Patrons

(a) Patrons, who shall be persons of distinction with a demonstrated attachment to natural history and a strong interest in the objects and work of the Society, may be nominated by Council.

(b) Patrons shall have the same rights and privileges as honorary members.

  1. Members

(a) All persons who are interested in the history and bibliography of any branch of natural history are eligible for Membership of the Society on payment of an annual subscription, as determined by Council, which shall be payable immediately on joining and thereafter on 1st January each year.

(b) By payment of the subscription Members undertake to observe the Rules of the Society, and in return are entitled to the privileges of Membership as set out in these Rules and to any additional benefits as shall be determined by Council.

(c) Except at the discretion of Council no Member who is more than three months in arrears will be entitled to the privileges of Membership or any additional benefits.

(d) Members who are more than 12 months in arrears or who are deemed by Council to have acted contrary to the Rules of the Society will have their Membership terminated.

(e) All benefits received by Members of the Society are individual to them and are not transferable.

(f) Dual Membership is available for two individuals living at the same address. Dual Members shall receive all the privileges and benefits of Members except that they shall jointly receive only one copy of any Society publications due to Members.

(g) Honorary Members elected according to Rule 15 shall have all of the privileges and benefits of Members, but shall not be required to pay an annual subscription.

(h) Institutions are not eligible for Membership.

  1. Management

(a) The management of the Society shall be conducted by a Council consisting of the Officers and nine Councillors, all of whom are Members of the Society.

(b) Each Councillor shall be elected for a term of three years, and shall be eligible for re-election one year after the end of the previous term of office.

(c) Six members of Council shall constitute a quorum.

(d) The Council shall meet at least three times in every year.

(e) The Council shall have the power to appoint Committees, the members of which may be either Members of the Council or other Members of the Society, provided that the Chairman of all such Committees shall be a Member of the Council.

(f) The Council shall have power to co-opt Members to carry out specified duties on behalf of the Society. Co-opted Members may attend but may not vote at Council meetings. Co-opted appointments shall be reviewed annually by Council.

  1. Officers

(a) The Officers of the Society shall consist of a President, a Treasurer, a Secretary, a Meetings Secretary and an Editor. Officers shall be elected annually, and except as specified below, are eligible for re-election.

(b) For any reason which shall appear sufficient to two-thirds of the Members of Council present, the Council may suspend an Officer of the Society in the exercise of the office or remove the Officer and declare such office vacant.

  1. President

(a) The President shall preside at meetings of the Society and of the Council.

(b) In the event of an equality of votes at meetings of the Society or of the Council, the President shall have a casting vote.

(c) The President shall serve no more than three consecutive years.

  1. Vice-President

(a) A Vice-President shall be nominated annually by the President from among the members of the Council.

(b) In the absence of the President, the Vice-President shall preside at meetings of the Council, and shall for the time being have all the authority, power and privilege of the President.

(c) In the absence of both the President and Vice-President, the meeting shall appoint one of its number to preside.

  1. Treasurer

(a) The Treasurer shall be responsible to the Council for all matters relating to the financial affairs of the Society.

(b) All cheques drawn on the Society’s accounts in respect of the Society’s obligations shall be signed by two of the persons named in the mandate held by the Society’s Bank, such mandate to include the names of the Treasurer, the Secretary and one other member of Council. Electronic payments shall be approved by the Treasurer and either one other Officer or, in the absence of the other Officers, by two elected Councillors. A record of all such approvals shall be retained by the Treasurer.

(c) The Treasurer shall prepare a statement of the Society’s financial affairs for the year ending 31 December. The statement will be subject to an appropriate form of independent financial assessment in line with the Charity Commission’s guidance for charities such as the Society. The Treasurer shall furnish all facilities necessary for such an assessment to be made in time for the accounts to be submitted to the Annual General Meeting.

(d) The Treasurer shall each year sign the accounts and submit them, when independently examined, to the Council, and to the Annual General Meeting, to which the Treasurer shall at the same time submit a report for the year in question.

(e) The Council shall nominate each year a competent person to examine the accounts and shall have authority to pay the examiner.

  1. Secretary

(a) The Secretary shall be responsible for the organisation of Council Meetings and General Meetings of the Society.

(b) The Secretary shall be responsible for keeping minutes recording the business transacted at Council Meetings and at General Meetings of the Society, and such minutes shall be signed, after adoption, by the Chairman of the appropriate meeting next following.

(c) The Secretary shall be responsible for the proper conduct of all correspondence that is not specifically assigned to other Officers or Councillors.

(d) The Secretary shall be responsible for ensuring the deposit of all the relevant archives of the Society with the Natural History Museum in accordance with the agreement between the Society and the Museum.

  1. Meetings Secretary

(a) The Meetings Secretary shall be responsible for the organisation of meetings of the Society, other than General Meetings.

  1. Editor

(a) The Editor shall be responsible to Council for the production of the Archives of Natural History and any other additional publications that Council approves under Rule 17(c).

  1. Editorial Board

(a) An Editorial Board, which shall advise the Editor, may be appointed by Council on the recommendation of the Editor.

  1. Election of Officers and Councillors

(a) The Council for the time being shall prepare a list of names of such Members as it shall recommend to fill the offices of President, Treasurer, Secretary, Meetings Secretary and Editor for the year following and also the names of such Members as it shall recommend as Councillors.

(b) The list prepared by the Council shall be sent to every member of the Society not less than twenty-one days prior to the day fixed for the Annual General Meeting.

(c) Unless seven or more days prior to the Annual General Meeting further valid nominations have been received by the Secretary, the nominations on the list prepared by the Council shall be declared elected. A nomination is valid if (i) the member nominated signifies in writing a willingness to serve in the specified role if elected and (ii) the nomination is supported by the signatures of three Members. If any valid nomination is received a ballot for that position shall be held at the Annual General Meeting in such manner and under such conditions as the President may determine.

(d) In the event of any vacancy occurring among the Officers or Councillors, the Council may appoint a Member to fill the vacancy until the next Annual General Meeting.

  1. Election of Honorary Members

(a) Persons who have performed signal services to the Society may be elected as Honorary Members.

(b) Election of Honorary Members shall be at a General Meeting of the Society, on the nomination of the Council. The names of all such persons nominated for election as Honorary Members shall be published on the notice calling the Meeting.

(c) The number of Honorary Members shall not at any time exceed ten.

  1. Medals

16.1 Founders’ Medal

(a) Persons eminent in the fields of the history and/or bibliography of natural history may be awarded the Founders’ Medal.

(b) Award of the Founders’ Medal shall be at a General Meeting of the Society, on the nomination of the Council. The name of the person nominated for the award shall be published on the notice calling the Meeting.

16.2 John Thackray Medal

(a) Individuals or groups of individuals demonstrating significant achievement in the previous three years in the field of the history and/or bibliography of natural history may be awarded the John Thackray Medal.

(b) Significant achievement may be recognised by the completion of a major piece of critical research or scholarship.

(c) The Council will call for nominations annually by issuing a nomination form that will indicate a closing date.

(d) All the nominations (which may include self-nominations) will be reviewed by a Committee appointed by the Council of the Society. The decision of the Council as to the recipient of the award is final.

(e) The award of the John Thackray Medal shall take place at a General Meeting of the Society. All awards of this medal shall be reported to the membership in a timely fashion.

(f) Normally only one medal, individual or institutional, will be made in any one year but exceptionally a second award may be made if the Committee and Council think fit.

(g) The Council reserves the right not to make an award in any given year if it is judged that no submission is of sufficient merit.

  1. Publications

(a) The main publication of the Society shall be a journal, containing papers relating to the objects of the Society.

(b) Copies of the journal shall be sent free to each Honorary Member and to each other Member who has paid their subscription for that year.

(c) The Society may also publish from time to time additional publications on appropriate subjects. Council shall have the discretion to determine whether such additional publications shall be distributed free to all Members.

  1. Annual General Meeting

(a) The Annual General Meeting of the Society shall be held on such date, at such place and at such time as the Council shall determine.

(b) Notice of the Annual General Meeting shall be sent to all Members of the Society not less than twenty-one days before the date of such a Meeting, together with Council’s report to Members and the accounts for the preceding financial year.

  1. Special General Meeting

(a) The Council may at any time, on not less than fourteen days’ notice to Members, call a Special General Meeting. It shall be bound to do so within twenty-one days of the receipt of letters of request from each of five members, specifying the business for which such Special General Meeting is to be convened.

(b) Fifteen Members shall form a quorum for a Special General Meeting.

(c) At a Special General Meeting the resolutions of two thirds of the Members present and entitled to vote shall be binding. Voting shall be on a show of hands. The Chairman shall have a casting vote in addition to his vote as a Member of the Society.

(d) Dissolution of the Society shall be effected only by the resolution of a Special General Meeting. Any such resolution shall provide for the disposal of the Society’s assets.

  1. Rules

(a) A copy of the Rules shall be made available to every member.

(b) No rule shall be altered or repealed, nor shall additions be made to the Rules, except by the resolution of two thirds of the Members present and entitled to vote at a Special General Meeting.

Details of any proposed alteration shall be sent to all Members at least ten days before the date of the meeting.

  1. The Society’s funds

(a) The funds of the Society shall be kept in such bank accounts as the Council shall direct, and/or be invested in such manner as it sees fit.

(b) In no circumstances shall any of the assets of the Society at any time be given or paid to any Member except by way of reimbursement of expenses, or as proper remuneration for services rendered to the Society.

  1. Prohibition on the use of the Society’s name and publications.

(a) The name of the Society and its publications shall not be used by any Member for any purpose of individual trade or profit.