This is a wide-ranging list of historical societies and related organisations that exist primarily across the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland, but which also includes global history organisations which support the study of history. The list is divided into themed sub-categories, such as regional history organisations, archival organisations, and learned groups and societies. Each hyperlinked entry has a brief description about the organisation, society, or group; its aims and objectives; and its appeal for those interested in certain historical disciplines. The aim of the list is to show that there are a diverse range of historical societies and related organisations across the country and internationally, and that these societies and organisations are accessible to both members of the public and to researchers.
ARA is a national society which safeguards archives and records managed by specialist record-keepers in the UK and Ireland. This includes influencing the development of policy, practice and legislation for those working in the sector both nationally and internationally. The ARA additionally supports and promotes wide participation in the study of history.
BRA is a national society, founded in 1932, which “aims to promote the preservation, understanding, accessibility and study” of recorded heritage across Britain for the benefit of the public. BRA is open to all those who are interested in the interpretation and preservation of records, including local historians, academics, archivists, and genealogists. BRA holds an annual conference, sends regular newsletters, awards the annual Janette Harley prize, and publishes the academic journal Archives.
CAHG is a national group whose objective is to support and promote community archives in the UK and Ireland. The CAHG brings together bodies and organisations concerned with community archives and provides a forum for the regular exchange of views and information. The CAHG holds an annual conference, produces a newsletter, and provides a resources page to enable researchers with their work.
The American Historical Association is a large professional organisation which serves historians in all fields and professions within historical studies. The Association plays a public role in supporting history education, the professional work of historians, and contributes to historical thinking in public life. In addition, the Association offers advice on careers diversity for historians and evaluation of digital scholarship in history.
The AHA currently represents forty associations of learned societies, with a combined membership of over 20,000 people. These associations work together to promote the interests of the arts and humanities, particularly concerning higher education and research policies at UK and EU level.
AHRC is a national interdisciplinary society in the UK which funds and promotes studies in the arts and humanities. The AHRC supports research that provides significant insights into history, cultural understanding, international development, and preservation of heritage. Additionally, the AHRC allocates funds for research and postgraduate training in collaboration with other research partners.
ABH is a leading UK professional association which is dedicated to creating and disseminating knowledge about business history. The Association organises an annual conference and workshop, provides the Tony Slavern Grant, and annually awards the Coleman Prize for a recent PhD thesis in business history. Membership consists mostly of scholars based at universities and research institutions.
BA is the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences, which promotes the study of peoples, cultures, and societies across history. BA is an independent fellowship of international scholars and researchers and serves as a funding body that supports new research, nationally and internationally. Additionally, BA acts as a forum for debate and engagement and is an active voice in promoting the humanities and social sciences.
BAHS is a national society which promotes the study of agricultural history, rural society, and the landscape of Britain and Ireland. The BAHS regularly publishes the Agricultural History Review, bibliographies, lists of dissertations and works in progress, holds conferences and workshops which centre on agricultural and rural history, and promotes conservation of historically significant landscapes.
BAAS is an association which promotes, supports and encourages the study of the United States in universities, colleges, and schools of the United Kingdom, and by independent scholars. BAAS provides information about their awards, funding, annual conferences, schools’ liaison work, and publications related to the study of the United States.
BAVS is a multidisciplinary organisation which is dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of knowledge about the Victorian period. The BAVS’s areas of interest include the study of Victorian art history, cultural studies, history, literary studies, history of science and performance studies. It has over 600 members based in the UK and internationally, which is drawn both from the academic community and the public. The BAVS holds an annual conference and provides funds to support postgraduates and early careers researchers to do research and attend conferences, as well as grants towards public engagement activities.
BSHS is a national society which is devoted to the history of science, technology, and medicine. The BSHS’s aims is to bring together people with interests in all aspects of the field, including lecturers, writers, students, teachers, museum curators, as well as to publicise relevant ideas within the wider research and teaching communities and the media. BSHS holds an annual conference, offers a variety of research grants and prizes, and is involved in public engagement activities.
CRS is a national society which aims to promote the study of Catholicism in the British Isles from the Reformation to the present day. The CRS regularly publishes volumes on any aspect of British and Irish Catholicism, including monographs, articles and edited collections through the British Catholic History Journal (BCH), formerly known as Recusant History.
The Church of England Record Society is a national society which aims to promote interest in, and knowledge of, the Church of England from the sixteenth-century to the present day. The society regularly publishes volumes on all periods of church history since the Reformation, including primary sources, contemporary letters, diaries, and visitation articles. The Church of England Record Society is of interest to researchers and scholars interested in ecclesiastical, social and political history, church history, and religious studies.
The Classical Association is a national association which has supported and promoted the development of Classical Studies since 1903. It provides financial and practical support to maintain and promote the teaching and study of classics in schools, universities and in other forums. The Association has worldwide membership, produces three academic journals: Classical Quarterly, Classical Review, and Greece and Rome, is involved in the Journal of Classics Teaching, and produces Omnibus, a classics magazine aimed at GCSE and A Level students, which is free of charge to schools.
CUCD is a national professional organisation for all teachers of classical Greek and Roman subjects in British universities. CUCD serves as a voice for classical teachers in higher education on academic and professional matters and collects annual statistics on student numbers in UK classical degree programmes. In addition, the CUCD publishes the CUCD Bulletin which is available electronically from years 1995 onwards.
EHS is a national society which aims to foster interest in, and to advance the study of, all areas of history of the Christian Churches. The EHS holds an annual summer conference, and a one-day winter conference, based on different themes, including art, warfare, gender, music, ideas, the body, cities, and culture. Selected proceedings of the conferences are published annually in Studies in Church History, and a postgraduate colloquium is convened each year to encourage postgraduate membership to the EHS.
ESHSI has worldwide membership and holds some influence within Ireland on matters related to the teaching of economic and social history. ESHSI brings together people actively engaged in research and teaching, organises an annual conference, publishes the peer-reviewed academic journal Irish Economic and Social History, publicises archival accessions and developments, and publishes a pamphlet series.
ESHSS is an organisation for people interested in Scottish history and is a forum for new historical research. The Society produces the Journal of Scottish Historical Studies, publishes monographs, and runs an annual conference and workshop. Its membership caters for professional historians, schoolteachers, undergraduate and postgraduate students, archivists, librarians, museum curators, genealogists, and others interested in Scotland’s past.
EcHR promotes the study of economic and social history, and its objective is to establish closer relations between students and teachers of economic and social history. The EcHR organises conferences and workshops, and provides financial assistance through several research grants, bursaries, research fellowships, and prizes for younger scholars. In addition, the EcHR publishes the Economic History Review, textbooks and study packs.
ECHA is a history society which supports and encourages interest in the study of Catholic history in England and Wales. The ECHA organises conferences and field trips that relate to different subjects and studies of Catholic history, and this is often done in conjunction with regional Catholic history societies. The ECHA publishes a newsletter four times a year.
EABH is an international network of financial professional and academics. The EABH encourages the preservation of historically relevant material and the circulation of high-level historical research. The Association provides historical analysis and preservation consulting to bankers, supervisors and policymakers, while its historians work on long-term topics that concern the management of financial institutions and policymakers. Additionally, the EABH regularly publishes the Financial History Review, the EABH Bulletin, papers, and books.
EBHA is a professional body for individuals interested in the development of business and management in Europe from the earliest time to the present day. It hosts an annual congress every summer in Europe and organises a summer school every two years for PhD students.
FLS is a learned society which is devoted to the study of all aspects of folklore and tradition: traditional music, ballads, song, dance and drama, fairy tales, myths, legends, narrative, arts and crafts, customs, and belief. The FLS is also interested in popular religion, traditional and regional food, folk medicine, children’s folklore, traditional sayings, proverbs, rhymes, and jingles. The aims of the FLS is to foster research and documentation of folklore worldwide, and to make the results of such study available to all. The FLS offers several prizes and a postgraduate bursary and publishes the peer-reviewed journal Folklore.
FCHS is dedicated to the study of all aspects of French colonizing activity and in the history of all the French colonies, including overseas French territories and the legacies of the French empire. The FCHS holds an annual conference, and members to the society receive regular newsletters and copies of the peer-reviewed journal French Colonial History, while the society provides a list of resources and finding aids to aid researchers
GHIL is an academically independent institution and part of the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad. It promotes research on medieval and modern history, particularly on the history of Britain, the British Empire and the Commonwealth, and Anglo-German relations. The GHIL organises events and conferences, supports publications, and provides scholarships and prizes.
GHS promotes the study and understanding of the history of Germany and the German-speaking world and seeks to place the history of Germany in its broadest global context. The GHS is run by academics from higher education institutions in the UK and Ireland and fosters close collaboration with historians of Germany across the world. It welcomes engagement of non-academics, teachers, postgraduates, and early career researchers, as well as established academic staff. GHS publishes German History Journal, hosts an annual conference, and awards an annual essay competition, in association with the Royal Historical Society.
Gresham College in London provides free lectures within the City of London that cover topics including history, art, medical science, religion, law, politics, and mathematics. The lectures are also recorded and made publicly available so that those who cannot attend the lectures in person can still access the material.
The Hakluyt Society promotes the study of voyages and travel across history and publishes “scholarly editions of primary records of voyages, travels, and other geographical material.” Membership is open to all those who are interested in the history of exploration and travel, exploratory voyages, geographical discovery, and worldwide cultural encounters. Members to the Hakluyt Society receive twice-yearly published volumes, and the society organises meetings, symposia and conferences, including an annual conference which publishes its proceedings.
The Harleian Society is a national society which transcribes, prints, and publishes heraldic visitations of counties, parish registers, or any manuscripts relating to genealogy, family history and heraldry. The Society regularly publishes editions of the Heralds’ Visitations in the possession of the College of Arms, which are available on subscription.
The Haskins Society is an international society which promotes studies of the early and central Middle Ages, with special focus on Viking, Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Norman, and early Angevin history. The Haskins Society holds an annual conference and sponsors scholarly sessions at the International Congress of Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and co-sponsors panels at the Leeds International Medieval Congress. The Society also publishes The Haskins Society Journal and supports young scholars through funds to attend its conferences.
The Heraldry Society of Scotland promotes the study of heraldry and encourages its correct use in Scotland and overseas. The Society has international membership and encourages people to join the society if they are interested in the study and practice of heraldry, especially persons who are actively or professionally engaged in heraldic arts and crafts, or in academic research.
HA supports the teaching and learning of history at all levels and brings together people who share an interest and passion for history. The HA studies the state of history education and talks to government and policymakers by representing members’ views through consultations. In addition, the HA publishes Teaching History, the academic journals History and The Historian, as well as the magazine Primary History, and provides several awards and prizes.
Historical Perspectives is an established history society which is run by, and for, postgraduates studying at universities throughout the UK. Historical Perspectives’ main activities include hosting a monthly seminar series which covers a range of history topics including economic, social, cultural, medieval, modern, and medical history. The society holds an annual two-day conference which is broadly themed to facilitate a wide range of postgraduate students and their research interests. In addition, Historical Perspectives publishes a blog series which are dedicated to graduate essays.
History Lab is a national history network for postgraduate students in history and related disciplines. The History Lab is based at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR) and is an intellectual and social forum designed to meet the needs of the postgraduate history community. The History Lab runs a diverse series of events throughout the academic year, including fortnightly research seminars, workshops on method, social events, conferences, and “meet the historian” sessions.
HES promotes the study and teaching of the history of education. It represents the interests of the field by supporting new researchers; collaborates and exchanges ideas with other educational bodies in Britain and around the world; and aims to preserve and facilitate access to primary sources in the history of education, by promoting links with the study and teaching of history at all levels. The HES holds an annual conference and offers postgraduate bursaries to attend their conferences, and awards two book prizes relating to the history of education.
H-WRBI is an international network that encourages research of women religious and makes available material to facilitate research on nuns and religious orders. The H-WRBI is broad in scope and time period covering the history of women religious from medieval to modern times. Its international network includes academics, archivists, students, and others interested in this area of study. H-WRBI hosts an annual conference, publishes book reviews, sends electronic communications, and uses social media platforms to inform members of the latest news.
History UK is an independent national body which promotes and monitors history in UK higher education. It is funded by history departments or their equivalents and campaigns on issues of concern to academic historians and the broader history community. This includes the profile of history and beyond, the state of the profession (especially regarding the recruitment and career development) of undergraduates, postgraduates, researchers, and staff, research culture in the study of history, teaching and learning within the discipline, as well as audit culture.
The Institute of Classical Studies, part of the School of Advanced Study, London, promotes research into the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean and neighbouring lands, ranging from pre-history to Late Antiquity. The Institute of Classical Studies encompasses languages and literature, art and archaeology, history, and philosophy in its research interests. The Institute of Classical Studies organises seminars, guest lectures, and conferences, and twice yearly publishes the journal BICS. The Institute is also committed to providing valuable research training for intercollegiate MA and supervision of PhD students.
The IHR was founded in 1921 and is one of nine institutes that comprise of the University of London’s School of Advanced Study. The IHR “is dedicated to training the next generation of historians, and to producing and facilitating ambitious, innovative historical research.” The IHR aims to foster public understanding of history and its social, cultural, economic importance, while advocating for the long-term future of the discipline and supporting its growth and development. The IHR offers research training, provides seminars, workshops, training, and conferences programmes, and it supports scholars through a range of scholarships and prizes.
IMC provides an interdisciplinary forum for researchers and scholars to share ideas relating to all aspects of the Middle Ages. The IMC brings together researchers from different countries, backgrounds, and disciplines, provides opportunities for networking and professional development, and it attracts more than 2,700 international medievalists. The IMC is organised by the University of Leeds and provides space for networking and socialising within the community.
HistorySOTL provides historians with the opportunity to take part in an international effort to increase learning in college history courses. The HistorySOTL aims to achieve this through sharing ideas and information about events, opportunities, and ongoing projects in the field. HistorySOTL provides free membership, online resources, allows members to participate in online conversations by commenting and leaving posts, and sends out electronic newsletters.
The Liverpool Nautical Research Society was founded in 1938 and is dedicated to promoting interest in maritime history and to preserve Liverpool’s maritime heritage. The society acts as a forum for members to communicate and research in maritime history, with its membership carrying out research for the society, the Merseyside Maritime Museum, and independently. The society holds weekly sessions in the Maritime Archive at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and hosts monthly presentations on a range of maritime subjects by members and invited speakers. Members receive the quarterly Bulletin which contains articles and papers published on maritime history.
LMS provides a research forum for students and scholars from any discipline to present their own work and to share their ideas with fellow medievalists. The LMS runs three interdisciplinary colloquia a year in London, which are done by themes with speakers from across the country. New membership is not available, however, LMS provides £10 tickets for its colloquia and sustenance.
The Medieval Chronicle Society is an international and interdisciplinary organisation which was founded to facilitate the work of scholars interested in medieval chronicles and general medieval historiography. The Medieval Chronicle Society holds conferences across Europe and publishes volumes of conference proceedings, as well as a newsletter through its website.
The Museums Association aims to inspire museums “to change lives.” Its vision is to be inclusive, participatory, and to socially engage with museums at the heart of their communities. The Museums Association develops a network of its members, made up of individuals, museum professionals, institutions and corporate members, and the Association campaigns and advocates for museums to inspire and to develop their visions for the sector.
The OHS “is dedicated to the collection and preservation of oral history, and to making this accessible to everyone.” OHS encourages people of all ages to record their own and other people’s life stories and offers practical advice and support about all aspects of collecting, preserving and using oral histories. The OHS provides 600 training places annually, publishes The Oral History Journal, funds oral history advice, organises conferences and seminars, and collaborates with national organisations. Additionally, the OHS supports over forty experienced oral historians as locally based Regional Networkers as a point of contact for anyone interested in oral history.
Past & Present (P&P) Society runs the Past & Present Journal and its own book series, sponsors its own conferences, and awards up to four postdoctoral fellowships a year. The aims of P&P is to showcase the wider implications of historical research and the society was founded on the belief that “history should be accessible and interesting to a wide range of readers, and its articles are intended to appeal to non-specialists as well as to experts.”
The Printing Historical Society is an international society which encourages interest in the history of printing. It encourages both the study and the preservation of printing machinery, records, and equipment of historical value. The Printing Historical Society represents all aspects of the printing arts and industry, and its membership includes printers, graphic designers, typographers, publishers, librarians, collectors, booksellers, and historians of all relevant fields.
RHS is a national society which works with professional historians and advances the historical study of the past. The RHS is “at the forefront of policy debates about the study of history”, and works frequently with the Historical Association, the Institute of Historical Research, and History UK (HE). The Society organises lectures across the year, and provides research grants and prizes to researchers, postgraduates, and early careers researchers. Additionally, the RHS publishes its own book series New Historical Perspectives, the Camden Series, and Transactions of the Royal Historical Society.
The Scottish History Society publishes manuscript sources relating to the history of Scotland and has published over 170 volumes on Scottish history. Its volumes covers all periods from the twelfth to the twentieth centuries and a very wide range of topics, including social, legal, political, economic, constitutional, diplomatic, military, agricultural, gardening, housekeeping, and religious history.
The Selden Society encourages the study and advance of the history of English law. It encourages research into the history of the law, the development of legal ideas, the legal profession, the courts and legal institutions, individual judges and lawyers, legal literature and records, the languages of the law, legal portraiture, and costume. The Selden Society supports the exchange of ideas between members through lectures, meetings, and correspondence. Additionally, the Selden Society publishes a supplementary series, as well as an annual series of volumes. This includes editions of legal records, plea rolls, unpublished law reports and judicial notebooks, which are distributed free of charge to its members.
The Society of Antiquaries of London encourages, advances, and furthers the study and knowledge of the antiquaries across cultural heritage. The Society’s principal objectives is to conserve and to develop the research and educational potential of the buildings, collections, and library at Burlington House and Kelmscott Manor, and to make these resources available to members and the wider public to further understanding of the past and influence the heritage sector. The Society of Antiquaries London awards research grants, holds lectures and seminars and other programmes of events, and regularly publishes a newsletter, the Antiquaries Journal, and monographs.
The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland supports the study of Scotland’s past. The Society’s purpose is to investigate both the antiquaries general natural and civil history, which includes establishing how the study of natural and useful sciences should be promoted. The Society acts as an advocate for the heritage sector and regularly responds to government consultations, and chairs meetings and symposia. Additionally, the Society publishes books and peer-reviewed papers, organises annual programmes of lectures and conferences, and provide several research grants and prizes.
SHS focuses on broad perspectives of social history internationally and domestically in the UK. SHS welcomes contributions and members from overseas, as well as historians and interested individuals from both inside and outside the formal academic community, ranging from postgraduates, early careers scholars, and senior researchers. The SHS organises an annual conference, publishes a books series, a quarterly-reviewed journal, and supports grants and prizes to researchers.
The Society for Reformation Studies is a national society which encourages scholarly interest in the study of Reformation and Renaissance theology, spirituality, and related disciplines. Membership is open to all interested in the Renaissance, Reformation, and disciplines. The Society sponsors both an annual conference at Westminster College, Cambridge and the journal Reformation and Renaissance Review.
SRS provides a national and international forum for all those who have an interest in any aspect of the study of the Renaissance. The membership is open to academics, independent scholars, postgraduates, undergraduates, schoolteachers, students, and members of the public. The SRS covers interdisciplinary subjects, including political and social history, history of art, material culture, garden history, religion, music, science, technology, literature, among other topics, in early modern Europe and the British Isles. The SRS publishes the journal Renaissance Studies and provides conference, research grants and fellowships to researchers.
SSHM promotes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the history of health, welfare, medical science, and practice. Its membership encompasses those interested in a variety of disciplines, including history, public health, demography, anthropology, sociology, social administration, and health economics. The SSHM organises at least two conferences a year, publishes the Social History of Medicine journal and The Gazette newsletter, and awards essay prizes for undergraduates.
SSCLE is an international society which aims to promote to its members and to the public about developments in the field. This includes research and fieldwork, co-ordinating resources, and informing its members about resources and ongoing studies. The SSCLE’s members include scholars whose research covers theology, law, literature, art, architecture, numismatics, medicine, social history, archaeology, cultural, economic, and political themes. SSCLE organises a major international conference every four years, as well as sessions on crusading history at other conferences.
The Society for the Study of French History encourages research and interest in all aspects of the history of France and its possessions from its beginnings to the present day. The Society acts as the principal body within the UK and Ireland for French history, and lobbies governments, funding bodies and universities in promoting the study of French history. Its members speak in secondary schools on subjects related to French history. The Society publishes the quarterly journal French History, organises an annual conference at different UK universities, and provides bursaries and prizes to postgraduates engaged in the study of French history.
SSLH is the UK’s principal organisation dedicated to the study of labour history. The SSLH actively encourages the preservation of labour history archives, objects (banners, cartoons, ephemera), and printed collections. Membership is open to everyone who wants to learn more about labour history and heritage from academics to members of the public. The Society publishes the Labour History Review, organises regular conferences, and awards bursaries and grants.
Urban History Group is part of the Centre for Urban History, University of Leicester, which is a national institution for the study of towns and cities. The Centre for Urban History provides a hub for British and international activities, which includes online resources, publications, conferences, particularly an annual Urban History Group conference, edits the academic journal Urban History Journal, and sends out a monthly newsletter.
VAHS is a national society which aims to advance historical understanding and analysis of voluntary action. The VAHS has an international membership, and its activities include Voluntary Action seminars held at the Institute of Historical Research (IHR), occasional Saturday study days on specialist subjects, international research conferences, and it maintains an edited blog of topics of interest to historians of voluntary action.
The Wellcome Trust supports research into health, medicine, and science in the humanities. One of its main purposes is to improve health by directly funding thousands of scientists and researchers worldwide from discovery to impact. The Trust provides funding schemes which offers grants across biomedical sciences, population health, medical innovation, humanities and social science, and public engagement.
WFA promotes the furthering of interest in the history of the Great War, 1914-1918. The WFA’s aim is to preserve the memory, courage, and comradeship of all those who served their countries in France and Flanders and their own countries during the Great War. The Association publishes a thrice-yearly journal Stand To! and Bulletin, which is accessible to members. In addition, the WFA also organises local WFA branches and hosts regional seminars.
WHN is a national association which promotes women’s history and the encouragement of women and men interested in women’s history. Its membership includes historians, researchers, independent scholars, teachers, librarians, and many other individuals both within academia and beyond. The WHN welcomes women and men from any background who share a passion in women’s history. WHN also publishes Women’s History, Women’s History Journal, a monthly e-newsletter, organises an annual conference, and provides research grants, prizes, and fellowships for the study of women’s history.
Local and Regional History Organisations
BALH is a national charity which promotes local history and serves local historians. It publishes books and pamphlets on local history, organises regular guided visits to archives, libraries, museums, and other places of interest, and arranges regular conferences and an annual conference. The BALH caters for local historians, who range from interested individuals and members of local societies to professionals in the field, including archivists and university lecturers.
The Family History Federation promotes the interest in researching family history and encourages membership of its member societies. The Federation makes representation to official bodies on matters which affect the study of family history, the availability of records, and other related topics. Additionally, the Federation regularly liaises with government bodies and archives, which includes encouraging member societies to interact with their local archives and to promote mutual co-operation and regional projects to make material available to family historians.
Local History Online is one of the UK’s main local history websites. Its aim is to help meet the needs of anyone interested in local history. Local History Online maintains a database which contains contact details for local and family history societies and course providers.
SGS provides help for those interested in researching Scottish family and local history. The SGS is run by volunteers and advises people at all stages of their research.. Membership is open to anyone interested in Scottish family and local history, with paid members able to access full library resources and holdings in Edinburgh. Training courses into palaeography and other skills-related activities are also offered through its website.
The Surtees Society is dedicated to the publication of manuscripts which concern the history of the ancient kingdom of Northumbria and the North-East of England, particularly County Durham and Northumberland. Its purpose is to publish manuscripts illustrative of the intellectual, moral, religious, and social conditions in Northumbria.
VCH was founded in 1899 with the objective to produce a history of every parish in England. The VCH has currently published nearly 300 “big red books” and produced over 6,300 individual parish histories. VCH is now active in eighteen counties and offers much of its work available for free through British History Online. The VCH Central Office is based at the Institute of Historical Research in London.