The Society was founded in 1872 as the South London Entomological and Natural History Society and since its inception has always included amongst its members many of the leading entomologists of the day.
Over the years the membership of the Society has increased to include not only residents of the London area but entomologists living all over the British Isles and overseas.
The objectives of the Society are the promotion and advancement of research in entomology with an increasing emphasis now being placed on the conservation of the fauna and flora of the United Kingdom and the protection of wildlife throughout the world.
The Society is the lead partner in the Heathland Flies Project investigating the ecology of three species of diptera. The Dipterists Forum; the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society; the British Myriapod and Isopod Group; the British Plant Gall Society; the Earthworm Society of Britain; the British Arachnological Society and the Coleopterists Society of Britain & Ireland are affiliated.
The Society has a variety of activities.
- Indoor Meetings are held at various locations and include lectures and discussions on a wide range of natural history subjects.
- Field Meetings are usually held during weekends from late April to October.
The meetings cover a wide range of habitats across the country and include visits to sites where records are needed for site management purposes.
The Society has a purpose built headquarters at the Pelham-Clinton Building, situated at Dinton Pastures Country Park, Davis Street, Hurst, near Reading. The Building is named after our late member Edward Pelham-Clinton, 10th Duke of Newcastle, whose generous legacy made its construction possible.
The headquarters houses the Society’s Library and Collections in two air conditioned rooms. The Library comprises books and papers covering all orders of insects and many other aspects of natural history. Books may be borrowed by members. The Society’s Collections comprehensive reference collections of Diptera, Coleoptera, Odonata, and British and European Lepidoptera.
The Library and Collections are open for the use of members on advertised Sundays each month (visitors are welcome at these times) and at other times by appointment. During the year the Pelham-Clinton Building acts as the focus for a number of weekend Workshop meetings at which identification advice and assistance is given by leading experts in particular fields.
The Society’s Journal is published four times a year. It includes papers and notes from both members and non members, and regularly publishes colour plates to illustrate them. In addition to The Journal the Society publishes Key Reference Works on British entomology which are available to members at reduced prices.
The Society’s Annual Exhibition takes place in London on a Saturday in November and lasts all day. The exhibition attracts exhibits from members demonstrating their work and areas of interest. Exhibits include both live and mounted specimens, drawings and photographs. There are also informative displays from other entomological organisations.
Details of the exhibits, and photographs of noteworthy specimens, are published in the Society’s Journal . The exhibition is the highlight of the Society’s year and is attended by about two hundred members and their guests. The exhibition is followed in the evening by the Annual Dinner.
The Society’s insurance policy provides £10m of Public Liability Insurance to individual members of the Society, in respect of their own field work and entomological research providing this is undertaken in the United Kingdom.
The Society supports field entomology through small grants from the Maitland Emmet BENHS Research Fund and the Hering Memorial Trust Fund.