Recordings of talks to the Society.
Curious Minds Video Library
Archaeology and History Video Library
Nature Video Library
The PSNS Library
Long before the computer and the internet, a library was an essential tool for scientific study. From its founding in 1867 the Society accumulated a vast collection of books and journals. Today, the Library remains in the possession of the Society and is housed in Perth Museum and Art Gallery. It is, perhaps, the most complete Victorian natural history library outside of a university or a national library. There are around 2,500 books in the collection, most were published in the 19th century. It is a treasure trove for students of the history of science. There is an early edition of Darwin’s ‘Origin of Species‘ as well as volumes on botany, zoology, geology, entomology, fungi, ferns, molluscs, archaeology, exotic travel expeditions, local antiquarianism, catalogues from places like the British Museum, and journals from learned institutions all over the world. Many of the books are heavily annotated by PSNS members and provide a valuable insight into Victorian cultural life in Perth. A small part of the collection is in the Library room of the Perth Museum, which can be viewed on request. The bulk of the library is conserved in the Museum archives. Individual volumes may be viewed via the normal Museum channels. The Library Room itself is of interest: the furnishings were designed for the room, and photographs of past Presidents of the Society hang above the bookcases. The room is open to visitors on occasional open days.
Publications available to purchase
Since the 1870s PSNS has published a Journal series with many interesting articles on the natural and human history of Perthshire and surrounding areas. Back copies of the most recent volumes (17 to 20) are available for sale at £5 each + postage. Two additional publications are available for sale: ‘Checklist of the Plants of Perthshire‘ at £5 and ‘Dirt, Dust and Development‘ at £3 + postage. To order any of these publications please contact PSNS.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publications available to download
South-East Perthshire Stone Circle Trail – a guide to three ancient monuments (leaflet)
Miss Rhoda Fothergill Publications
Miss Rhoda Fothergill (1929-2019) was Secretary of PSNS for a remarkable 47 years.
She was a well known local school teacher and local historian with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Perth. She gave a series of lectures on local history as part of a programme of evening classes offered by Perth College for many years in the period 1980-1998. Such was her reputation as a local historian that she was often invited to speak to groups, clubs and associations, rarely speaking from notes. These talks were meticulously researched and usually illustrated with slides. She also led walking tours round Perth. Her career as a primary school teacher in Perth spanned more than 40 years, first at Kinnoull Primary School in 1953, where she was responsible for Primary 6 and 7 pupils, then from 1976 at Caledonian Road Primary School where she was Assistant Head Teacher. She was Acting Head Teacher during the period April 1988-April 1989, and retired from teaching in December 1993. Her primary school classes were involved in all sorts of projects, from competing in Scottish country dancing competitions, to compiling audio visual projects – many of these were entered into inter-schools competitions. Notably, under Miss Fothergill’s guidance, pupils at Kinnoull Primary School carried out improvements to Ship Inn Close and Fountain Close in the early 1970s.
In the 1970’s and 80’s Miss Fothergill, in collaboration with her primary school pupils, published a number of interesting booklets on the history and environs of Perth. Links to these are listed below.
Miss Fothergill’s leisure interests were wide ranging. For 50 years she was a member of the Council of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science, including 47 as Secretary before retiring in 2015, when she became the Society’s Honorary Life President. She was a founder member of Perth Civic Trust and of the Friends of Perth and Kinross Archive. She also served on the Ancient Monuments Board of Historic Scotland. She had a great interest in gardens and horticulture. She was a member of the James Aitken Arboretum Committee, set up to reinstate the arboretum at Kinnoull Hill woodland park. A long-time member of the Scottish Rock Garden Club she was, for a time, Show Secretary. The large volume of photographs and slides in the collection points to her interest in photography. Recognition for her work included the D K Thompson Award for services to the preservation of history and heritage in Perth & Kinross, presented by Provost Bob Scott in 2004 and, in 2014, the British Empire Medal for services to history in Perthshire.
Miss Fothergill kindly donated her personal and research papers to Perth Kinross Archive.
- Waterways-of-Perth (1979)
- Bridges of the Tay (1982)
- Caledonian Road School (1981)
- History of King James VI Hospital (1979)
- Kinnoull, Bridgend and Barnhill (1976)
- Inches of Perth
- Trees of Perth (1973)
- Kinnoull Hill Nature Trail
- Kinnoull Hill Nature Trail 2nd edition
The Journal of the Society from 1870 to 1991
The Society has published a journal since the 1870s, although its title, format and frequency has changed over the years. For most of its history it was called ‘Transactions and Proceedings‘: the Transactions being intended for publication of selected papers read before the Society, the Proceedings for other Society business including excursion reports, although as the years passed the distinction became blurred, and since the 1980s it has been simply called the Journal. The journal contains a wealth of valuable information about the Society, science, history, Perthshire and beyond. All out-of-print volumes have been scanned, and can be found online in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.
- Proceedings of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science ((1870) and v.1 (1886)) www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/151415#/summary
- Transactions and Proceedings of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science (v.1 (1886) to v.12 (1969) www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/150363#/summary
- Transactions of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science ((1973) and v.13 (1980)) www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/151479#/summary
- Journal of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science (v.14 (1981) to v.16 (1991)) www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/151392#/summary
A full set of printed bound volumes of the journal is also available for reference in the Local & Family History Section of the AK Bell Library, York Place, Perth PH2 8EP.
For the period 1870–1881 the journal Scottish Naturalist (launched by the Society in 1871) took the place of the Proceedings. The complete run of Scottish Naturalist has also been scanned and can be found on Biodiversity Heritage Library.
Occasional newsletters of the Society
Occasional Newsletters give topical news and updates for the Society’s members.
Nature Section Newsletters:
Nature Section Bulletins:
Annual Bulletins contain longer articles and reports of past activities.
Ornithological Section Newsletters & Bulletins:
Botanical Section Bulletins: 1978 to 2021
Archaeological & Historical Section – Occasional newsletters
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2019 August – includes reports of Summer 2019 excursions
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2019 March
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2019 February
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2018 September – includes reports of Summer 2018 excursions
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2018 June – includes reports of Summer 2018 excursions
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2018 February – includes report of Summer 2017 excursions
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2017 June – includes report of Summer 2017 excursion
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2016 October – includes reports of Summer 2016 excursions
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2016 August – includes reports of Summer 2016 excursions
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2015 June – includes report of Summer 2015 excursion
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2013 Summer
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2013 Oct-Nov
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2013 January
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2013 December
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2013 Autumn
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2012 Autumn
- PSNS A&H Section Newsletter – 2011 Summer
The Literary and Antiquarian Society of Perth
This society was founded in 1785, and survived until 1915. In many ways it was a forerunner to the PSNS, and some of the subjects included in a 1787 list of possible subjects for discussion would not be out of place in today’s PSNS Curious Minds lecture programme! The Society published a single volume of Transactions in 1827, containing much of Perthshire interest. This volume has been scanned and can be viewed at the HathiTrust’s digital library, https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/009368452.
Notes on the history and some notable personalities of the PSNS
The following handouts were prepared in 2013 by the long-serving Secretary of the Society, the late Miss Rhoda Fothergill:
- History & personalities of PSNS
- Biography: William Barclay (1846-1923)
- Biography: Andrew Coates (1814-1900)
- Biography: James & Henry Coates
- Biography: Robert Dow (1852-1913)
- Biography: WH Findlay (1911-2006)
- Biography: James Stewart (1858-1926)
- Biography: Francis Buchanan White (1842-94)
- Biography: GPK Young (d.1933)
- Biography: John Young (d.1895)