Royal Society of Arts
(1754-present)

group and society

Aged 267

The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is a London-based organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges. Founded in 1754 by William Shipley as the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1847, and the right to use the term "Royal" in its name by King Edward VII in 1908. The shorter name (The Royal Society of Arts) and the related RSA acronym are used more frequently than the full name. Notable past fellows include Charles Dickens, Benjamin Franklin, Stephen Hawking, Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Nelson Mandela, David Attenborough, William Hogarth, John Diefenbaker, and Tim Berners-Lee. Today, the RSA has fellows elected from 80 countries worldwide. The RSA awards three medals – the Albert Medal, the Benjamin Franklin Medal, and the Bicentenary Medal. Medal winners have included Nelson Mandela, Sir Frank Whittle, and Professor Stephen Hawking. The RSA members are innovative contributors to human knowledge, as shown by the Oxford English Dictionary, which records the first use of the term "sustainability" in an environmental sense of the word in the RSA Journal in 1980.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

William Shipley 1715-1803 held the foundation meeting of The (Royal) Society of Arts in Rawthmell’s Coffee House on this site 22 March 1754

Rawthmell’s Coffee House in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom where it was founded (1754)