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Please note: RPS House is closed for our exhibition install. We will be open again from 10am on Friday 9th August 2024.

RPS History

The Society has had many illustrious men and women as its President, to lead the organisation. The list below shows those from its formation in 1853 to the present day.

1853-1855          Sir Charles Eastlake
1855-1869          Sir Frederick Pollock
1869-1874          James Glaisher                 
1874-1875          John Spiller
1875-1892          James Glaisher 
1892-1894          Sir W de W Abney
1894-1896          Sir Henry Trueman Wood
1896-1896          Sir W de W Abney
1897-1900          The Earl of Crawford
1900-1903          Thomas R Dallmeyer
1903-1905          Sir W de W Abney
1905-1907          J Waterhouse
1907-1910          J C S Mummery
1910-1912          Lord Redesdale
1912-1914          Chapman Jones
1914-1916          J Furley Lewis
1916-1918          John H Gear
1918-1920          C Atkin Swan
1920-1922          G H Rodman
1922-1923          W L F Wastell
1923-1925          J Dudley Johnston
1925-1927          Thomas H B Scott
1927-1929          F F Renwick
1929-1931          J Dudley Johnston
1931-1933          Olaf F Bloch
1933-1935          A J Bull
1935-1935          Robert Chalmers
1936-1938          Douglas A Spencer
1938-1940          Edmund A Robins
1940-1942          F J Mortimer
1942-1944          D McMaster
1944-1946          Harry Baines
1946-1948          F J Tritton
1948-1950          Percy W Harris
1950-1951          L V Chilton
1951-1953          I D Wratten
1953-1955          Bertram Sinkinson
1955-1956          Harry Baines
1956-1958          A L M Sowerby
1958-1960          Margaret F Harker
1960-1962          J E P Bardsley
1962-1964          Victor Gallafent
1964-1966          H D J Cole
1966-1968          G W G Maclennan
1968-1970          Tony Axford
1970-1972          Reggie Mason
1972-1974          Peter Wilkinson
1974-1976          Vernon G W Harrison
1976-1978          Derrick Knight
1978-1980          Sir George Pollock
1980-1982          Leslie Bowcock
1982-1984          Chris Roberts
1984-1986          Heather Angel
1986-1988          Arthur Downes
1988-1990          Brian Bower
1990-1992          Michael Austin
1992-1994          Edwin Appleton
1994-1996          Robert Moore
1996-1998          John Birkett
1998-2001          Professor Raymond Clark
2001-2003          John Page
2003-2005          Roger Reynolds
2005-2007          Professor Ralph Jacobson
2007-2009          Dr Barry Senior
2009-2011          Rosemary Wilman
2011-2013          Roy Robertson
2013-2015          Derek C Birch
2015-2017          Walter Benzie
2017-2019          Robert Albright
2019-2019          Dr Del A Barrett
2019-                 Dr Alan Hodgson

From Roger Fenton, to the current incumbent, The Society's Secretary, now known as the Chief Executive, has helped guide and manage The Society's activities and affairs.

The Society's first Secretary was Roger Fenton who established the administrative basis for The Society which served it well until the the Royal Charter was secured in 2004. That modernised the RPS's organisational structure. The role is now known as Chief Executive and the incumbent manages the RPS’s operations and staff, and works with The Society's Board of trustees, to ensure its charitable objectives are realised. 

1853     Roger Fenton, Honorary Secretary
1856      Rev J R Major, Secretary and Editor
1857      William Crookes,  Secretary and Editor                 
1858      Hugh W Diamond, Secretary and Editor
1868      John Spiller, Honorary Secretary
1872      H Baden Prichard, Honorary Secretary
1874      George Hooper, Secretary
1874      R J Friswell, Honorary Secretary
1877      H Baden Prichard, Honorary Secretary
1879      Lieut. L Darwin, Honorary Secretary
1883      F Maxwell Lyte, Honorary Secretary
1884      W F Donkin, Honorary Secretary
1889      Capt. A M Mantell, Honorary Secretary
1892      Chapman Jones, Honorary Secretary
1897      H Wilmer Honorary Secretary 1897
1898      Col. J Waterhouse, Honorary Secretary
1900      John A Hodges, Honorary Secretary,
1902      A W W Bartlett, Secretary and (1902) Librarian
1905      J McIntosh, Secretary and Librarian
1921      H H Blacklock, Secretary
1939      J Dudley Johnston, Honorary Secretary
1946      L E Hallett, Secretary
1969      Kenneth R Warr, Secretary
1990      Amanda Nevill, Secretary
1994      Adrian Knowles, Secretary
1995      Barry Lane, Secretary General
2002      Noel Usher, Secretary General
2003      Paul Newman, Secretary General
2004      Judith O’Brien, Secretary General
2004      Stuart Blake, Director General
2011      Dr Michael Pritchard FRPS, Director-General, then Chief Executive
2018      Mike Taylor, Chief Operating Officer
2020      Evan Dawson, Chief Executive Officer