Washington, D. C. formally the District of Columbia and referred to as Washington or D. C. is the capital of the United States. Founded after the American Revolution as the seat of government of the newly independent country, Washington was named after George Washington, first President of the United States and Founding Father; as the seat of the United States federal government and several international organizations, Washington is an important world political capital. The city is one of the most visited cities in the world, with more than 20 million tourists annually; the signing of the Residence Act on July 16, 1790, approved the creation of a capital district located along the Potomac River on the country's East Coast. The U. S. Constitution provided for a federal district under the exclusive jurisdiction of the U. S. Congress, the District is therefore not a part of any state; the states of Maryland and Virginia each donated land to form the federal district, which included the pre-existing settlements of Georgetown and Alexandria.
The City of Washington was founded in 1791 to serve as the new national capital. In 1846, Congress returned the land ceded by Virginia. Washington had an estimated population of 702,455 as of July 2018, making it the 20th most populous city in the United States. Commuters from the surrounding Maryland and Virginia suburbs raise the city's daytime population to more than one million during the workweek. Washington's metropolitan area, the country's sixth largest, had a 2017 estimated population of 6.2 million residents. All three branches of the U. S. federal government are centered in the District: Congress and the U. S. Supreme Court. Washington is home to many national monuments, museums situated on or around the National Mall; the city hosts 177 foreign embassies as well as the headquarters of many international organizations, trade unions, non-profit, lobbying groups, professional associations, including the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund, the Organization of American States, AARP, the National Geographic Society, the Human Rights Campaign, the International Finance Corporation, the American Red Cross.
A locally elected mayor and a 13‑member council have governed the District since 1973. However, Congress may overturn local laws. D. C. residents elect a non-voting, at-large congressional delegate to the House of Representatives, but the District has no representation in the Senate. The District receives three electoral votes in presidential elections as permitted by the Twenty-third Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1961. Various tribes of the Algonquian-speaking Piscataway people inhabited the lands around the Potomac River when Europeans first visited the area in the early 17th century. One group known as the Nacotchtank maintained settlements around the Anacostia River within the present-day District of Columbia. Conflicts with European colonists and neighboring tribes forced the relocation of the Piscataway people, some of whom established a new settlement in 1699 near Point of Rocks, Maryland. In his Federalist No. 43, published January 23, 1788, James Madison argued that the new federal government would need authority over a national capital to provide for its own maintenance and safety.
Five years earlier, a band of unpaid soldiers besieged Congress while its members were meeting in Philadelphia. Known as the Pennsylvania Mutiny of 1783, the event emphasized the need for the national government not to rely on any state for its own security. Article One, Section Eight, of the Constitution permits the establishment of a "District as may, by cession of particular states, the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States". However, the Constitution does not specify a location for the capital. In what is now known as the Compromise of 1790, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson came to an agreement that the federal government would pay each state's remaining Revolutionary War debts in exchange for establishing the new national capital in the southern United States. On July 9, 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which approved the creation of a national capital on the Potomac River; the exact location was to be selected by President George Washington, who signed the bill into law on July 16.
Formed from land donated by the states of Maryland and Virginia, the initial shape of the federal district was a square measuring 10 miles on each side, totaling 100 square miles. Two pre-existing settlements were included in the territory: the port of Georgetown, founded in 1751, the city of Alexandria, founded in 1749. During 1791–92, Andrew Ellicott and several assistants, including a free African American astronomer named Benjamin Banneker, surveyed the borders of the federal district and placed boundary stones at every mile point. Many of the stones are still standing. A new federal city was constructed on the north bank of the Potomac, to the east of Georgetown. On September 9, 1791, the three commissioners overseeing the capital's construction named the city in honor of President Washington; the federal district was named Columbia, a poetic name for the United States in use at that time. Congress held its first session in Washington on November 17, 1800. Congress passed the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801 that organized the District and placed the entire territory under the exclusive control of the federal
Road speed limit enforcement in the United Kingdom
Road speed limit enforcement in the United Kingdom is the action taken by appropriately empowered authorities to attempt to persuade road vehicle users to comply with the speed limits in force on the UK's roads. Methods used include those for detection and prosecution of contraventions such as roadside fixed speed cameras, average speed cameras, police-operated LIDAR speed guns or older radar speed guns. Vehicle activated signs and Community Speed Watch schemes are used to encourage compliance; some classes of vehicles are fitted with speed limiters and intelligent speed adaptation is being trialled in some places on a voluntary basis. During 2006/7 a total of 1.75 million drivers had their licenses endorsed with 3 penalty points and £114 million was raised from fines. The Department for Transport estimated that cameras had led to a 22% reduction in personal injury collisions and 42% fewer people being killed or injured at camera sites; the British Medical Journal reported that speed cameras were effective at reducing accidents and injuries in their vicinity and recommended wider deployment.
An LSE study in 2017 found that "adding another 1,000 cameras to British roads could save up to 190 lives annually, reduce up to 1,130 collisions and mitigate 330 serious injuries."In May 2010 the new Coalition government pledged to scrap public funding for speed cameras and cut the Road Safety Grant from £95 million to £57 million. Opposition politicians and some road safety campaigners claimed. A survey conducted by The Automobile Association said that use of speed cameras was supported by 75% of their members. Enforcement is used to increase compliance with speed limits. One of the main motivations for enforcement is to reduce road casualties at accident blackspots. For 2008, "exceeding the speed limit" was reported as one of the contributory factors in 5% of all casualty collisions; the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates that a pedestrian has a 90% chance of surviving being hit by a car at 20 mph, falling to 50% chance at 30 mph and to 10% at 40 mph. The government noted that the change from "mainly survivable injuries to fatal injuries" takes place at speeds between 30 and 40 mph.
One third of drivers thought that the chances of a pedestrian dying if hit at 40 mph was 50% or less. Parliament noted. A 2003 survey of drivers for the Department for Transport found that 58% break speed limits on 30 mph roads and 25% break them by more than 5 mph. 57% break speed limits on motorways and 20% break them by more than 10 mph. In 2002 the Select Committee on Transport stated that "Most drivers and pedestrians think speeds are too high but 95 per cent of all drivers admit to exceeding them". Groups most to speed excessively are those driving in a work related capacity, members of high income households and young males. Motorcyclists frequently speed as do HGV drivers on single carriageway main roads where their speed limit is 50 mph. There are many methods used by authorities, in places where the speed limits are not observed, to attempt to achieve greater compliance; these methods fall into one of two categories: to attempt to identify drivers or vehicles that are breaking the speed limit for the purposes of prosecution, to remind vehicle users what the speed limit is, that it should be obeyed.
There are several types of speed camera in use. Speed cameras must be calibrated and certified before the images from it are acceptable to the court, including the cameras used in police vehicles. Owners of vehicles photographed may be contacted with a'Notice of Intended Prosecution' requiring them to provide the name and address of the driver. If they do not provide this information they may receive a Court summons for'Failing to Furnish Driver Details'. "Higher speeds" result in prosecution by way of a'Conditional Offer Fixed Penalty' which can be settled by accepting a £100 fine and three penalty points. "Excessive speed offences" are automatically sent to the court. These cameras are installed beside a road and record the instantaneous speed of vehicles and a photograph of vehicles that have been identified as breaking the speed limit. There are two types in use: Gatso cameras, which take a photograph of the rear of the vehicle after the vehicle has passed, Truvelo / D-cam digital cameras which use infrared to take a picture of a vehicle as it approaches, which includes an image of the driver.
These cameras transmit the image and speed to the authorities instantly. Police officers can use LIDAR speed guns or sometimes the older and less accurate radar speed guns to gather evidence for prosecution; these may be operated from within police vehicles. Known as the SPECS system, these cameras measure average speeds over a known or measured distance; the first average speed camera in Scotland was installed on the A77 road in 2004. Vehicle activated signs that illuminate to indicate to a driver that they are exceeding the speed limit — these do not result in the issuance of a penalty serve as a warning. Community Speed Watch is a partnership between local people, the Police, the Fire Service and local councils. Volunteers spend a short time each week noting number plates; those identified as speeding are sent a warning letter and the police will take further action if the same vehicle is identified as speeding three times. Community Speed Watch is only permitted below. Junior Speed Watch works in a similar way but inv
Measurement is the assignment of a number to a characteristic of an object or event, which can be compared with other objects or events. The scope and application of measurement are dependent on the discipline. In the natural sciences and engineering, measurements do not apply to nominal properties of objects or events, consistent with the guidelines of the International vocabulary of metrology published by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures. However, in other fields such as statistics as well as the social and behavioral sciences, measurements can have multiple levels, which would include nominal, ordinal and ratio scales. Measurement is a cornerstone of trade, science and quantitative research in many disciplines. Many measurement systems existed for the varied fields of human existence to facilitate comparisons in these fields; these were achieved by local agreements between trading partners or collaborators. Since the 18th century, developments progressed towards unifying accepted standards that resulted in the modern International System of Units.
This system reduces all physical measurements to a mathematical combination of seven base units. The science of measurement is pursued in the field of metrology; the measurement of a property may be categorized by the following criteria: type, magnitude and uncertainty. They enable unambiguous comparisons between measurements; the level of measurement is a taxonomy for the methodological character of a comparison. For example, two states of a property may be compared by difference, or ordinal preference; the type is not explicitly expressed, but implicit in the definition of a measurement procedure. The magnitude is the numerical value of the characterization obtained with a suitably chosen measuring instrument. A unit assigns a mathematical weighting factor to the magnitude, derived as a ratio to the property of an artifact used as standard or a natural physical quantity. An uncertainty represents the systemic errors of the measurement procedure. Errors are evaluated by methodically repeating measurements and considering the accuracy and precision of the measuring instrument.
Measurements most use the International System of Units as a comparison framework. The system defines seven fundamental units: kilogram, candela, ampere and mole. Six of these units are defined without reference to a particular physical object which serves as a standard, while the kilogram is still embodied in an artifact which rests at the headquarters of the International Bureau of Weights and Measures in Sèvres near Paris. Artifact-free definitions fix measurements at an exact value related to a physical constant or other invariable phenomena in nature, in contrast to standard artifacts which are subject to deterioration or destruction. Instead, the measurement unit can only change through increased accuracy in determining the value of the constant it is tied to; the first proposal to tie an SI base unit to an experimental standard independent of fiat was by Charles Sanders Peirce, who proposed to define the metre in terms of the wavelength of a spectral line. This directly influenced the Michelson–Morley experiment.
With the exception of a few fundamental quantum constants, units of measurement are derived from historical agreements. Nothing inherent in nature dictates that an inch has to be a certain length, nor that a mile is a better measure of distance than a kilometre. Over the course of human history, first for convenience and for necessity, standards of measurement evolved so that communities would have certain common benchmarks. Laws regulating measurement were developed to prevent fraud in commerce. Units of measurement are defined on a scientific basis, overseen by governmental or independent agencies, established in international treaties, pre-eminent of, the General Conference on Weights and Measures, established in 1875 by the Metre Convention, overseeing the International System of Units and having custody of the International Prototype Kilogram; the metre, for example, was redefined in 1983 by the CGPM in terms of light speed, while in 1960 the international yard was defined by the governments of the United States, United Kingdom and South Africa as being 0.9144 metres.
In the United States, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a division of the United States Department of Commerce, regulates commercial measurements. In the United Kingdom, the role is performed by the National Physical Laboratory, in Australia by the National Measurement Institute, in South Africa by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and in India the National Physical Laboratory of India. Before SI units were adopted around the world, the British systems of English units and imperial units were used in Britain, the Commonwealth and the United States; the system came to be known as U. S. is still in use there and in a few Caribbean countries. These various systems of measurement have at times been called foot-pound-second systems after the Imperial units for length and time though the tons, hundredweights and nautical miles, for example, are different for the U. S. units. Many Imperial units remain in use in Britain, which has switched to the SI system—with a few exceptions such as road signs, which are still in miles.
Draught beer and cider must be sold by the imperial pint, milk in returnable bottles can be sold by the imperial pint. Many people meas
Radar is a detection system that uses radio waves to determine the range, angle, or velocity of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, terrain. A radar system consists of a transmitter producing electromagnetic waves in the radio or microwaves domain, a transmitting antenna, a receiving antenna and a receiver and processor to determine properties of the object. Radio waves from the transmitter reflect off the object and return to the receiver, giving information about the object's location and speed. Radar was developed secretly for military use by several nations in the period before and during World War II. A key development was the cavity magnetron in the UK, which allowed the creation of small systems with sub-meter resolution; the term RADAR was coined in 1940 by the United States Navy as an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging The term radar has since entered English and other languages as a common noun, losing all capitalization.
The modern uses of radar are diverse, including air and terrestrial traffic control, radar astronomy, air-defense systems, antimissile systems, marine radars to locate landmarks and other ships, aircraft anticollision systems, ocean surveillance systems, outer space surveillance and rendezvous systems, meteorological precipitation monitoring and flight control systems, guided missile target locating systems, ground-penetrating radar for geological observations, range-controlled radar for public health surveillance. High tech radar systems are associated with digital signal processing, machine learning and are capable of extracting useful information from high noise levels. Radar is a key technology that the self-driving systems are designed to use, along with sonar and other sensors. Other systems similar to radar make use of other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum. One example is "lidar". With the emergence of driverless vehicles, Radar is expected to assist the automated platform to monitor its environment, thus preventing unwanted incidents.
As early as 1886, German physicist Heinrich Hertz showed that radio waves could be reflected from solid objects. In 1895, Alexander Popov, a physics instructor at the Imperial Russian Navy school in Kronstadt, developed an apparatus using a coherer tube for detecting distant lightning strikes; the next year, he added a spark-gap transmitter. In 1897, while testing this equipment for communicating between two ships in the Baltic Sea, he took note of an interference beat caused by the passage of a third vessel. In his report, Popov wrote that this phenomenon might be used for detecting objects, but he did nothing more with this observation; the German inventor Christian Hülsmeyer was the first to use radio waves to detect "the presence of distant metallic objects". In 1904, he demonstrated the feasibility of detecting a ship in dense fog, but not its distance from the transmitter, he obtained a patent for his detection device in April 1904 and a patent for a related amendment for estimating the distance to the ship.
He got a British patent on September 23, 1904 for a full radar system, that he called a telemobiloscope. It operated on a 50 cm wavelength and the pulsed radar signal was created via a spark-gap, his system used the classic antenna setup of horn antenna with parabolic reflector and was presented to German military officials in practical tests in Cologne and Rotterdam harbour but was rejected. In 1915, Robert Watson-Watt used radio technology to provide advance warning to airmen and during the 1920s went on to lead the U. K. research establishment to make many advances using radio techniques, including the probing of the ionosphere and the detection of lightning at long distances. Through his lightning experiments, Watson-Watt became an expert on the use of radio direction finding before turning his inquiry to shortwave transmission. Requiring a suitable receiver for such studies, he told the "new boy" Arnold Frederic Wilkins to conduct an extensive review of available shortwave units. Wilkins would select a General Post Office model after noting its manual's description of a "fading" effect when aircraft flew overhead.
Across the Atlantic in 1922, after placing a transmitter and receiver on opposite sides of the Potomac River, U. S. Navy researchers A. Hoyt Taylor and Leo C. Young discovered that ships passing through the beam path caused the received signal to fade in and out. Taylor submitted a report, suggesting that this phenomenon might be used to detect the presence of ships in low visibility, but the Navy did not continue the work. Eight years Lawrence A. Hyland at the Naval Research Laboratory observed similar fading effects from passing aircraft. Before the Second World War, researchers in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, the Soviet Union, the United States, independently and in great secrecy, developed technologies that led to the modern version of radar. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa followed prewar Great Britain's radar development, Hungary generated its radar technology during the war. In France in 1934, following systematic studies on the split-anode magnetron, the research branch of the Compagnie Générale de Télégraphie Sans Fil headed by Maurice Ponte with Henri Gutton, Sylvain Berline and M. Hugon, began developing an obstacle-locatin
Red light camera
A red light camera is a type of traffic enforcement camera that captures an image of a vehicle which has entered an intersection in spite of the traffic signal indicating red. By automatically photographing vehicles that run red lights, the photo is evidence that assists authorities in their enforcement of traffic laws; the camera is triggered when a vehicle enters the intersection after the traffic signal has turned red. A law enforcement official will review the photographic evidence and determine whether a violation occurred. A citation is usually mailed to the owner of the vehicle found to be in violation of the law; these cameras are used worldwide, in countries including: Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. If a proper identification cannot be made, instead of a ticket, some police departments send out a notice of violation to the owner of the vehicle, requesting identifying information so that a ticket may be issued later. There is debate and ongoing research about the use of red light cameras.
Authorities cite public safety as the primary reason that the cameras are installed, while opponents contend their use is more for financial gain. There have been concerns that red light cameras scare drivers into more sudden stops, which may increase the risk of rear-end collisions; the elevated incentive to stop may mitigate side collisions. Some traffic signals have an all red duration, allowing a grace period of a few seconds before the cross-direction turns green; some studies have confirmed more rear-end collisions where red light cameras have been used, while side collisions decreased, but the overall collision rate has been mixed. In some areas, the length of the yellow phase has been increased to provide a longer warning to accompany the red-light-running-camera. There is concern that the international standard formula used for setting the length of the yellow phase ignores the laws of physics, which may cause drivers to inadvertently run the red phase. Red light cameras were first developed in the Netherlands by Gatso.
Worldwide, red light cameras have been in use since the 1960s, were used for traffic enforcement in Israel as early as 1969. The first red light camera system was introduced in 1965, using tubes stretched across the road to detect the violation and subsequently trigger the camera. One of the first developers of these red light camera systems was Gatsometer BV; the cameras first received serious attention in the United States in the 1980s following a publicized crash in 1982, involving a red-light runner who collided with an 18-month-old girl in a stroller in New York City. Subsequently, a community group worked with the city's Department of Transportation to research automated law-enforcement systems to identify and ticket drivers who run red lights. New York's red-light camera program went into effect in 1993. From the 1980s onward, red light camera usage expanded worldwide, one of the early camera system developers, Poltech International, supplied Australia, South Africa, the Netherlands and Hong Kong.
American Traffic Systems and Redflex Traffic Systems emerged as the primary suppliers of red light camera systems in the US, while Jenoptik became the leading provider of red light cameras worldwide. All red light camera systems used film, delivered to local law enforcement departments for review and approval; the first digital camera system was introduced in Canberra in December 2000, digital cameras have replaced the older film cameras in other locations since then. Red light cameras are installed in protective metal boxes attached to poles at intersections, which are specifically chosen due to high numbers of crashes and/or red-light-running violations. Red light camera systems employ two spaced inductive loops embedded in the pavement just before the limit line, to measure the speed of vehicles. Using the speed measured, the system predicts if a particular vehicle will not be able to stop before entering the intersection, takes two photographs of the event; the first photo shows the vehicle just before it enters the intersection, with the light showing red, the second photo, taken a second or two shows the vehicle when it is in the intersection.
Details that may be recorded by the camera system include: the date and time, the location, the vehicle speed, the amount of time elapsed since the light turned red and the vehicle passed into the intersection. The event is captured as a series of photographs or a video clip, or both, depending on the technology used, which shows the vehicle before it enters the intersection on a red light signal and its progress through the intersection; the data and images, whether digital or developed from film, are sent to the relevant law enforcement agency. There, the information is reviewed by a law enforcement official or police department clerk, who determines if a violation occurred and, if so, approves issuing a citation to the vehicle owner, who may challenge the citation. Studies have shown that 38% of violations occur within 0.25 seconds of the light turning red and 79% within one second. A few red light camera systems allow a "grace period" of up to half a second for drivers who pass through the intersection just as the light turns red.
Ohio and Georgia introduced a statute requiring that one second be added to the standard yellow time of any intersection that has a red light camera, which has led to an 80% reduction in tickets since its intro
Road speed limits in the United Kingdom
Road speed limits in the United Kingdom are used to define the maximum legal speed for vehicles using public roads in the UK, are one of the measures available to attempt to control traffic speeds. The speed limit in each location is indicated on a nearby traffic sign or by the presence of street lighting. Signs use the Clearway symbol; the national speed limit is 70 mph on motorways, 70 mph on dual carriageways, 60 mph on single carriageways and 30 mph in areas with street lighting. These limits may be changed by road signs and apply to cars, car-derived vans up to 2 tonnes maximum laden weight, to motorhomes or motor caravans not more than 3.05 tonnes maximum unladen weight. Other classes of vehicles are subject to lower limits on some roads. Speed limits in the UK are used to define maximum desirable traffic speeds for the purposes of road safety, to reduce negative environmental effects of traffic, to increase fuel use efficiency and to satisfy local community wishes. Enforcement of UK road speed limits was traditionally done using police'speed traps' set up and operated by the police who now use speed guns, automated in-vehicle systems and automated roadside traffic cameras.
Some vehicle categories have various lower maximum limits enforced by speed limiters. Since they have been introduced, speed limits have been controversial, they supported from various sources. Default maximum speed limits apply to all roads where no specific lower numeric speed limit is in force; the default speed limit is known as the national speed limit. The NSLs vary for vehicle types; some classes of vehicles are required to have speed limiters which enforce a maximum speed by physical means. Older vehicles still in use do not have them set at a higher speeds. New vehicles should be fitted with limiters as follows: Buses and coaches, including minibuses: 100 km/h HGVs: 90 km/h or 85 km/h depending on class. Mopeds: 45 km/h Some other vehicles light commercial or service vehicles, may be voluntarily fitted with limiters by their owners set at 90, 97, 100, 110 or 113 km/h, though some ultralight citybound service vehicles may be limited to 80 km/h or less. In all cases, a warning sticker must be displayed on the rear of the vehicle.
Speed limit road signs are used to inform road users where speed limits other than the applicable national speed limit apply. For some types of vehicles, on some types of road, speed limits lower than the signed limit apply. A small, decreasing number of single-carriageway motorways do exist, both technical/"secret" and overtly signed, but they are universally either subject to a signed limit below 70 mph, or too short for any but the most powerful vehicles to exceed 60 mph for any significant distance. Variable speed limits are used on some major traffic roads; these can be changed in response to weather, traffic levels, time of day or for other reasons with the applicable speed limit is displayed using an electronic road sign. Signs with the speed shown in a red circle are compulsory, signs where the speed is not within a red circle are advisory and exceeding these speeds while driving safely within the applicable national speed limit is not in itself an offence. Variable speed limits were introduced on some congested major routes as an element of controlled motorway techniques to improve traffic flows for given prevailing conditions.
Part-time variable speed limits may be used outside schools. Minimum speed limits are used, such as through the Mersey Tunnels, to maintain free flow and safe passage through otherwise hazardous or enclosed areas. Circular blue signs with white numbers indicate the start of these limits, similar signs with a red diagonal line indicate their end. Contrary to popular belief, there is no minimum speed limit on motorways, although certain classes of slow vehicles are prohibited on safety grounds and drivers are expected to not cause unnecessary obstruction by driving unusually slowly. According to the government, speed limits are used to help achieve appropriate traffic speeds for safety, environmental and accessibility reasons; the Department for Transport state that "speed limits play a fundamental role" in the effective management of traffic speeds in relation to the safety of both drivers and all other road users. The 30 mph speed limit in built-up areas was introduced in 1934 in response to high casualty levels.
The 70 mph limit on unrestricted roads was introduced in 1965 following a number of serious motorway accidents in fog earlier the same year. The Department for Transport believes that effective speed management involves many components but that speed limits play a'fundamental role' and are'a key source of information to road users' as an indicator of the nature and risks posed by that road to both themselves and other motorised and non-motorised road users; the Parliamentary Select Committee for Transport Safety published a report entitled'The Ending the Scandal of Complacency' in 2007 which highlighted how casualty levels rise with increasing speed and recommended reducing speed limits on streets with high pedestrian populations and on dangerous rural roads
Royal Photographic Society
The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain known as the Royal Photographic Society, is one of the world's oldest photographic societies. It was founded in London, England, in 1853 as The Photographic Society of London with the objective of promoting the art and science of photography, in 1854 received Royal patronage from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. A change to the society's name to reflect the Royal patronage was, not considered expedient at the time. In 1874 it was renamed the Photographic Society of Great Britain, from 1894 it became known as The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain. A registered charity since 1962, in July 2004, The Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain was granted a Royal charter recognising its eminence in the field of photography as a learned society. For most of its history the Society was based at various premises in London, it moved to Bath in 1979, since 2004 its headquarters has been at Fenton House in Bath, England. Membership is open to anyone with an interest in photography.
In addition to standard membership, the Society offers three levels of distinctions which set recognised standards of achievement throughout the world, can be applied for by both members and non-members: Licentiate and Fellow, in all aspects of photography and vocational qualifications in the areas of Creative Industries and Imaging Science. It runs an extensive programme of more than 300 events throughout the United Kingdom and abroad, through local groups and special interest groups; the Society acts as a national voice for photographers and for photography more and it represents these interests on a range of governmental and national bodies dealing with areas as diverse as copyright and photographers' rights. The Society's collection of historic photographs, photographic equipment and books was deposited for the nation at the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford in 2003, but most of the collection is moving to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Photographers were slow in forming clubs and societies.
The first was an informal grouping the Edinburgh Calotype Club around 1843 and the first photographic society, the Leeds Photographic Society in 1852 and claims to be the oldest photographic society in the world, although it had a break between 1878 and 1881 when it ceased to exist independently. In other countries the Société française de photographie was founded in Paris in 1854; the catalyst behind the formation of The Photographic Society was Roger Fenton. The Great Exhibition of 1851 had raised public awareness of photography and in December 1852 an exhibition of nearly 800 photographs at The Society of Arts had brought together amateur and professional photographers; the inaugural meeting of The Photographic Society was held on 20 January 1853. Fenton became a position he held for three years; as Jane Fletcher has argued the changing nature of photography and photographic education in the early 1970s forced The Society to modernise and to become more relevant to British photography. An internal review led to constitutional changes, the introduction of a new distinction called the Licentiate in 1972 and six new specialist groups were established.
The rising cost of maintaining The Society's premises in South Audley Street, London led the Society's Executive Committee to look for alternative premises. The Council approved at a meeting on 1 April 1977 a move to Bath and the establishment of a National Centre of Photography to house the Society's headquarters and collection. An appeal for £300,000 was launched in the summer of 1978 for the funds needed to convert The Octagon and adjacent buildings in Milsom Street, Bath; the inaugural exhibition opened in May 1980 with the building opened by Princess Margaret in April 1981. Although the Society's inaugural meeting took places at the Society of Arts in London, it was some time before the Society had its own permanent home, it held functions as a number of some concurrently for different types of meetings. Premises used were: Royal Society of John Adam Street; the Society's premises were: 1899 -- 1909 -- London. 1909–1940 – 35 Russell Square, London. 1940–1968 – Princes Gate, South Kensington, London.
1968–1970 – 1 Maddox Street, London. 1970–1979 – 14 South Audley Street, London 1980–2003 – The Octagon, Milsom Street, Bath. 2004–January 2019 – Fenton House, 122 Wells Road, Bath. 7 February 2019 – Paintworks, Bath Road, Bristol. The Society had collected photographs and items of historical importance on an ad hoc basis but there was no formal collecting policy until John Dudley Johnston was appointed Honorary Curator a post he held between 1924 and 1955. Up to Johnston's appointment the collection has concentrated on technical advances of photography and Johnston began to concentrate on adding pictorial photography to the collection. On Johnston's death in 1955 his role of Honorary Curator was taken over by his wife Florence and a succession of paid and unpaid staff including Gail Buckland, Carolyn Bloore, Arthur Gill, Valerie Lloyd, Brian Coe, with Professor Margaret Harker as Honorary Curator over a long period. Pam Roberts was appointed curator, a position she held until the collection was closed in 2001 pending its transfer to the National Museum of Photography and Television in 2002.
The move was supported by the Head of the museum