About Us

Founded in 1868, the Royal Historical Society (RHS) is a successful learned society, membership organisation and charity with a 150 year history. Today, the RHS is the UK’s foremost society working for historians and history.

In 2024 over 6,500 historians belong and contribute to the Society — as fellows and members active in the UK and worldwide. This makes the RHS the UK’s largest membership organisation for historians of all kinds, and from all walks of life — held in high regard by historians internationally, and a partner to many similar organisations overseas.

These national and international connections are led by the historians who make up the RHS Council (Trustees), and the small central team based at University College London, which is the home of the Society. Each year, the Society supports four PhD Fellows and other recipients of its Research funding programme.



The Society’s remit covers the following principal areas:

  • policy work relating to academic research, education and teaching
  • advocacy and intervention in debates about the study of history
  • publishing of a journal, primary source collections, book series, online resources, and scholarly communications relating to the discipline
  • academic events showcasing new research
  • research & skills training and professional engagement, with a focus on early career historians
  • a grants and fellowships programme, directed towards historians at all career stages
  • prizes and awards, to recognise excellence in the discipline
  • provision of a research Library and Archive, based at UCL, with particular strengths in the development of the modern historical profession in the UK.

In late 2021 the Society also revised and extended its membership categories to engage with a wider membership from sectors beyond beyond higher education. Researchers and those working in history are welcome to join the RHS as Fellows and Members, with applications welcome at anytime.

How the Royal Historical Society works

The Society is predominantly a voluntary organisation with a revolving Council whose members offer dedicated service ensuring the smooth-running and development of the organisation. Council comprises a body of  Fellows each of whom serves a four-year term working on our various committees and working parties. Each year, the Fellowship elects three new members of Council using a preferential voting system.



Council in turn elects our Officers — including the President, Secretary and Treasurer — who each serve a four-year term. In addition, we have four Vice Pre

sidents (all members of Council) who act as Chairs of our various committees and undertake other activities for the Society. The President, Officers and Councillors work closely with the RHS central office team, based at UCL, who are responsible for the running and management of the Society.

In areas such as policy formation, training and events, the RHS also works with other national bodies: the Historical Association, which leads on history in schools; the Institute of Historical Research, a national centre for research resources; and History UK (HE) a council of representatives of UK university history departments.

RHS By-Laws

The RHS is governed by its By-LawsRevisions to the By-Laws are made, on approval, at the Society’s Annual General Meeting, held each November. The most recent update to the By-Laws was implemented in November 2021


If you have any queries about the Royal Historical Society, its work, or website, please contact the RHS Office: administration@royalhistsoc.org