Visit to the Spalding Gentleman’s Society

On the evening of August 11th, the second outside visit of 2021 took place. We travelled to the market town of Spalding, just 20 miles north of Peterborough. Those of us who signed up for the visit were in for a treat. The Gentlemen’s Society of Spalding is to be found in a Grade 11 listed, red brick building specially built for the Society in 1910 in Broad Street, close to the town centre.

The Society was founded in 1710 by Maurice Johnson a local lawyer and barrister and a prominent member of the town’s gentry. Maurice trained in London where he frequented the coffee houses where gentlemen met to discuss books and philosophical ideas during weekly meetings. Part of Maurice’s year was spent home in Spalding, so he set about forming a similar society in Spalding. Its aim was to foster the advancement of knowledge and the appreciation of the arts and literature. The society is now one of the oldest provincial learned societies in Britain and its collection of books and artefacts is second only to the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford.

William Stukeley The Member who was responsible for the present day museum.

We were met by several of the museum’s stewards who guided us around the exhibits in small groups. The collections of artefacts are varied and rare and have all been donated over the years. The library alone contains over 120,000 rare books. 

Visit over, we walked across to the nearby United Reformed Church for some delicious homemade refreshments. We would like to extend our grateful thanks to all the Spalding Gentlemen’s Society Stewards who made our visit so informative and entertaining. Also, to the bakers of the lovely cakes and the kind members of the Spalding United Reformed Church, who made us so welcome and enabled us to spend such a pleasant time, rounding off the evening. 

If you would like more information or would like to visit the museum or attend one of their monthly lectures, please go to for more information.


Some of the famous early members of the Society

 Joseph Banks, Alexander Pope, Sir Issac Newton and Alfred Tennyson

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