Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles - Minutes of the First meeting of Council

by Ann Sylph on
July is the anniversary month of both the birth and death of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of ZSL and our first President. We are featuring an item from ZSL's Archives, the minutes of the first meeting of ZSL's Council. This was the only Council meeting attended by Raffles as he died soon afterwards.
This first meeting of the newly formed Council was held on May 5th 1826 with Raffles in the Chair as President. The meeting consisted of plans to organise the Society such as electing Vice-Presidents and forming Committees including a Committee for the formation of a Library.
The minutes are signed by Raffles.

The other members of Council attending the meeting were:

Earl of Egremont
Earl of Darnley
Lord Auckland
Lord Stanley
Sir Everard Home
Edward Barnard
J. G. Children
Mr Greenough
General Hardwicke
Dr Horsfield
Mr Knight
Mr Sabine
Mr Vigors
Mr Charles Baring Wall


In a subsequent meeting on April 3 1827 Council agreed to admit `Lady Fellows' to the Society, an important decision as it was so unusual at that time for women to be able to join learned societies. ZSL encouraged women's interest in zoology from a very early time and continues to encourage the interest of women in zoology and other sciences.

The minutes of Council are an important continuous record of ZSL's activities since 1826, these are perhaps the most important of the records in ZSL.

ZSL's Archives form part of the `special collections' of ZSL Library, you are welcome to visit and consult/view them but an appointment is necessary Library Regulations for Special Collections (96 KB)Please email or telephone 020 447 6293 to make an appointment.

Many resources are available in the Library and no appointment is necessary to use these, however if you are a ZSL member please bring your membership card. Non-members will need proof of address and photographic ID if you are not already a member of ZSL.

Search our Library catalogue

ZSL's Archives as they detail the decision-making of the Council of Fellows that run ZSL.




Select a blog

Careers at ZSL

Our people are our greatest asset and we realise our vision for a world where wildlife thrives through their ideas, skills and passion. An inspired, informed and empowered community of people work, study and volunteer together at ZSL.

Nature at the heart of global decision making

At ZSL, a key area of our work is the employment of Nature-based Solutions – an approach which both adapt to and mitigates the impacts of climate change. These Solutions, which include habitat protection and restoration, are low-cost yet high-impact, and provide multiple benefits to people and wildlife. We ensure that biodiversity recovery is at the heart of nature-based solutions. 

ZSL London Zoo

A blog for lovers of ZSL London Zoo, bringing you extraordinary animal facts and exclusive access to the world's oldest scientific zoo.

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Do you love wildlife? Discover more about our amazing animals at the UK's biggest zoo!


We're working around the world to conserve animals and their habitats, find out more about our latest achievements.


From the field to the lab, catch up with the scientists on the cutting edge of conservation biology at ZSL’s Institute of Zoology.


A day in Discovery and Learning at ZSL is never dull! The team tell us all about the exciting sessions for school children, as well as work further afield.

Artefact of the month

Every month, one of the pieces held in ZSL’s Library and at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo will feature here as Artefact of the Month.

Wild About

Read testimonials from our Members and extracts from ZSL's award winning members' magazine, Wild About.

Asia Conservation Programme

ZSL works across Asia, from the famous national parks of Nepal to marine protected areas in the Philippines. Read the latest updates on our conservation.

Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation

An Open Access journal for research at the interface of remote sensing, ecology and conservation.