© 2015 Cardiff Scientific Society

The Society has been in existence over seventy five years and active with only one break during 1939 and 1945. Today, it fulfils the same role as outlined by the founder members:

By Lectures, Demonstrations, etc, of a popular nature, to extend interest in the application of Science to everyday life

The first Minute Book records the inaugural meeting of the Science League held in the Physics Lecture Room, University Buildings in Newport Road on Tuesday November 12th 1926. Mr Cox was in the chair and Mr. W. O'Grady the secretary. No records exist to explain why the group was brought together but then, as now, the membership includes the academic community in Cardiff and those with an interest in science. Minutes documenting committee discussions, decisions and reports on recent lectures were typewritten using a Smith typewriter and a signed paper copy was pasted into a hardback foolscap notebook. At the second meeting, a week later, correspondence was read from the headquarters of the Science League and members decided against affiliation to this organisation as it would be too expensive.

This decision established the Cardiff Scientific Society. 1926 was a turbulent year with considerable industrial unrest, high unemployment, and poor wages. Despite this, and with the average weekly wage less than three pounds, subscriptions were set at half a guinea (ten shillings and sixpence) for seniors and five shillings for juniors under sixteen years of age. Committee members paid for printing and stationary and were fined a small sum not exceeding sixpence if they were late for meetings.

The membership was, not surprisingly, small. Income for the first winter was £6 0s 8d, which included £1 0s 2d from the sale of refreshments and a donation from the President, Dr Shaxby. The winter programme 1929/30 included a visit to the Cardiff Dowlais works and a Presidential lecture by Professor W. M. Tattersall entitled 'Mans Relation To Nature'. Other topics were 'Ultraviolet rays in the treatment of tuberculosis'. 'Gem Stones', 'The Mating of Flowers', 'Evolution', and on

March 5th 'Musical Quality' by Mr. C.F. Herrenden-Harker M.A., father of a present member, Dr. W. Herrenden-Harker. In the audience was Mr Clifford Nott who remained in active membership until shortly before his death in 1996.

Six visits were organised during the summer months to retain the interest of members. One of the most successful was a Dinner and Social evening at a Grill in St. Mary's Street costing 4s 6d per head. One month later, members enjoyed a demonstration featuring a radio gramophone. It was noted that the attendance was better when there were demonstrations.

Membership participation was being encouraged and on May 28th 1931, four members each gave a lecture/demonstration beginning with Mr. R. Hogan's 'Germs found in disease' followed by Mr. W.M. Branson on ' Muscles and how they work'. Mr E.G. Holden followed with a description of 'Liquid Air' and the evening ended with Mr. C.M. Parsons describing 'The Modern Wireless Set'. The evening ended at 10.15pm. At the next committee meeting it was proposed and agreed that evening meetings would be advertised as 7.45 for 8pm, and that they would end at 9.30pm.

Later the same year, another members evening was held with lantern slides, exhibits and conversation. The focus was on tubercle bacilli; other colonies of bacteria; trypanosoma, the cause of sleeping sickness in Man; the mouth parts of insects carrying disease, fleas, tapeworms, filaria - the cause of eleph-antiasis and the trichinella worm which infects pork.


History of the Cardiff Scientific Society