Quekett Microscopical Club

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The Quekett Microscopical Club [1] is a learned society for the promotion of microscopy. Its members come from all over the world, and include both amateur and professional microscopists. It is a registered charity [2] and not-for-profit publisher, with the stated aims of promoting the understanding and use of all aspects of the microscope.

A learned society is an organisation that exists to promote an academic discipline, profession, or a group of related disciplines such as the arts and science. Membership may be open to all, may require possession of some qualification, or may be an honour conferred by election.

Microscopy technical field of using microscopes to view samples and objects that cannot be seen with the unaided eye

Microscopy is the technical field of using microscopes to view objects and areas of objects that cannot be seen with the naked eye. There are three well-known branches of microscopy: optical, electron, and scanning probe microscopy, along with the emerging field of X-ray microscopy.



Portrait of John Thomas Quekett John Thomas Quekett, a distinguished histologist, seated (cropped).jpg
Portrait of John Thomas Quekett

The Club was founded in 1865 [3] as a result of a letter from W. Gibson published in Science Gossip in May 1865 suggesting that “some association among the amateur microscopists of London is desirable”.

The suggestion was taken up by Mordecai Cubitt Cooke, Thomas Ketteringham and Witham Bywater, and they met on 14 June 1865 and agreed a provisional committee. About sixty people attended the first meeting of the Club on Friday 7 July 1865 for the purpose of establishing the Club to “give amateurs the opportunity of assisting each other, holding monthly meetings in a central locality, at an annual charge to cover incidental expenses”. The name agreed was “The Quekett Microscopical Club”, ‘club’ was chosen instead of ‘society’ to reflect the aims of the association. The first President was Edwin Lankester.

Mordecai Cubitt Cooke English botanist and mycologist (1825–1914)

Mordecai Cubitt Cooke was an English botanist and mycologist.

Edwin Lankester British scientist

Edwin Lankester FRS, FRMS, MRCS was an English surgeon and naturalist who made a major contribution to the control of cholera in London: he was the first public analyst in England.

The Club is named after the famous Victorian microscopist Professor John Thomas Quekett, and is the second oldest organisation in the world dedicated to microscopy; the oldest is the Royal Microscopical Society.

John Thomas Quekett Dutch histologist

John Thomas Quekett was an English microscopist and histologist.

The Royal Microscopical Society (RMS) is a learned society for the promotion of microscopy. It was founded in 1839 as the Microscopical Society of London making it the oldest organisation of its kind in the world. In 1866, the society gained its royal charter and took its current name. Founded as a society of amateurs, its membership consists of individuals of all skill levels in numerous related fields from throughout the world. Every year since 1852, the society has published its own scientific journal, the Journal of Microscopy, which contains peer-reviewed papers and book reviews. The society is a registered charity that is dedicated to advancing science, developing careers and supporting wider understanding of science and microscopy through its Outreach activities.

Some of the traditions of the Club’s Victorian founders are continued, but the Quekett is now very much a friendly club for today’s microscopists and covers all aspects of the subject ranging from the history of the microscope and slide collecting to the latest advances in digital imaging with the microscope.

Past Presidents

Several eminent scientists have been presidents of the Club, including Edwin Lankester (1865–66), Lionel Smith Beale (1870–71), Henry Lee (1875–77), Thomas Henry Huxley (1877–79), Thomas Spencer Cobbold (1879–80), Mordecai Cubitt Cooke (1881–83), William Benjamin Carpenter (1883–85), William Dallinger (1889–92), George Edward Massee (1899-1903), Edward Alfred Minchin (1908-1912) [4] Arthur Dendy (1912–16), Alfred Barton Rendle (1916–21), Sir David Prain (1924–26), William Thomas Calman (1926–28), John Ramsbottom (1928-31) and Hamilton Hartridge (1951–54).

Lionel Smith Beale British physician, microscopist, and professor

Lionel Smith Beale was a British physician, microscopist, and professor at King's College London. He graduated in medicine from King's College in 1851. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1857.

Henry Lee was an English naturalist, known as an aquarium director and author.

Thomas Henry Huxley English biologist and comparative anatomist

Thomas Henry Huxley was an English biologist and anthropologist specialising in comparative anatomy. He is known as "Darwin's Bulldog" for his advocacy of Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

Other Famous Members

David Lawrence Bryce FRSE (1856-1934) [5]


Members include amateurs, professionals, beginners and experts with an interest in microscopes, microscopy or microscope slides.

Members receive 2 issues of the scholarly Quekett Journal of Microscopy and 2 issues of the informal Bulletin of the Quekett Microscopical Club each year.

Members have access to a private area of the Club’s website that includes meeting reports, videos of lectures, and galleries of entries from slide and photograph competitions.


The Club holds monthly meetings [6] in London for its members, normally in the Natural History Museum, and a few meetings in other parts of the United Kingdom. During the warmer months, the Club arranges excursions where members can collect specimens and examine them using their own microscopes. The Club holds an annual exhibition in the Natural History Museum each autumn.

Reports of meetings are published in the Club’s Bulletin and on its website.

Natural History Museum, London Natural history museum in London

The Natural History Museum in London is a natural history museum that exhibits a vast range of specimens from various segments of natural history. It is one of three major museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, the others being the Science Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The Natural History Museum's main frontage, however, is on Cromwell Road.


The Club’s publications include the amateur-friendly Bulletin of the Quekett Microscopical Club (available only to members), the peer-reviewed Quekett Journal of Microscopy [7] which has been published in an unbroken run since 1868, and a range of books.

Related Research Articles

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Frank Crisp English lawyer and microscopist

Sir Frank Crisp, Kt., 1st Baronet, was an English lawyer and microscopist. Crisp was an enthusiastic member, and sometime officer, of the Royal Microscopical Society. He was generous in his support of the Society, donating furniture, books and instruments in addition to his work on technical publications.

Mary Ward (scientist) Anglo-Irish scientist and writer

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Protistology is a scientific discipline devoted to the study of protists, a highly diverse group of eukaryotic organisms. Its field of study overlaps with more traditional disciplines of phycology, mycology, and protozoology, just as protists, which, being a paraphyletic group embrace algae, some organisms regarded previously as primitive fungi, and protozoa.

<i>Science-Gossip</i> journal

Science-Gossip was the common name for two series of monthly popular-science magazines, that were published from 1865 to 1893 and from 1894 to 1902. The first series was called Hardwicke's Science-Gossip, and the second series Science-Gossip.

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Nestor J. Zaluzec Microscopist

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Edwin John Quekett FRMS (1808–1847) was an early worker in botany and histology, and a microscopist.

Andrew Pritchard FRSE was an English naturalist and natural history dealer who made significant improvements to microscopy and studied microscopic organisms. His belief that God and nature were one led him to the Unitarians, a religious movement to which he and his family devoted much energy. He became a leading member of Newington Green Unitarian Church in north London, and worked to build a school there.

Quekett is a surname. It may refer to:

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Adolf Paul Schulze FRSE FRMS (1840–1891) was a 19th-century German merchant and amateur optical scientist who settled in Scotland. He created the firm Schulze, Paton & Co. He was an expert on microscopes and microphotography and jointly founded the Scottish Microscopical Society. In business he was known as Paul Schulze and in microscopy he was known as Adolf or Adolph Schulze.


  1. "Quekett Microscopical Club – for users and collectors of microscopes and slides".
  2. "Charity overview".
  3. "History of the Quekett Microscopical Club for people interested in microscopes and microscopy".
  4. Bracegirdle, Brian (2016). The Quekett Microscopical Club 1865-2015. England: Quekett Microscopical Club. ISBN   9780956459121.
  5. http://www.royalsoced.org.uk/cms/files/fellows/biographical_index/fells_indexp1.pdf
  6. "Programme".
  7. "Quekett Journal of Microscopy".