Royal Society of Arts

The Royal Society of Arts (RSA), was founded during the Enlightenment by William Shipley in 1754 with the first meeting being held at Rawthmell’s Coffee House, Covent Garden, London. Shipley’s belief that the creativity of ideas could enrich social progress was reflected in the diversity of awards offered by the Premium Award Scheme. For the first 100 years the Society encouraged innovation and excellence through this scheme in six areas - Agriculture, Manufacture, Chemistry, Mechanics, Polite Arts, Colonies and Trade. The Society was granted a Royal Charter in 1847 and the right to use the term Royal in its name by King Edward VII in 1908

Their long lasting commitment to education from being one of the first to promote improvement in girl’s education leading to the establishment of Girls’ Public Day Schools and the first public examination system continues today with their growing family of RSA Academy schools.

They also demonstrate a strong commitment to the environment by offering awards for the reduction of smoke emissions as early as 1770, the first recorded use in an environmental context of the word ‘sustainability’ in 1980 and our continued commitment to environmental sustainability reflected in our Great Recovery Programme.