Meet the Preston group who have been celebrating the natural world since 1876

Posted on - 27th October, 2019 - 12:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Penwortham, People, Preston News, What's On in Preston, Wildlife and Conservation
Preston Society - Birdwatching and Natural History meet in St Mary's Church in Penwortham
Preston Society – Birdwatching and Natural History meet in St Mary’s Church in Penwortham

In 1876, during the age of Queen Victoria, The Preston Scientific Society was founded.


It was a time of scientific and technological awakening, and against this background the Society flourished, spawning many specialist offshoots in areas such as photography, astronomy and natural history.

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The various sections used to meet on specific nights of the week at the Society’s meeting rooms based in Ellesmere Chamber in Church Street until the 1970s.

Many of the sections have devolved into separate societies over the years, and as time progressed the society adapted its name to become The Preston Society.

The natural history section is the only one still remaining, and today it is known as the Preston Society – Birdwatching and Natural History.


The Society has around 100 members who meet regularly during the autumn, winter and spring seasons. During the summer the group take part in walks, coach trips and holidays.

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Ian Tyrer, the Society’s speaker programme secretary, said: “We meet every week in the evening indoors from October until March, with speakers talking on varying aspects of birds, wildlife, marine life, flora, fauna and many other aspects of natural history from all over the world.

“Some of our speakers are regulars, talking on different subjects each year. Others travel from afar, and are experts in their field. We can have from 60 to 160 people attending these events.

“From April until September we are more active and have weekly field trips around Lancashire, Cumbria and Greater Manchester, with some day coach trips further afield.

The Society on a summer outing
The Society on a summer outing

“Twice a year we go away for usually four or five night stays to areas that cannot be covered in a day trip. There we visit Wildlife Trust Reserves and RSPB reserves, exploring what the wider country has to offer.

“Our aim is simply to see some of the rare and not so rare nature and wildlife of the UK and the world around us.”

Ian says the Society is open to welcoming new members: “We are a group of friendly people, who have wide ranging interests in different fields of the natural world around us.

“Everyone is happy to share their knowledge and we welcome people of any age who have not been before. People who visit often become members, once they have got to know us.”

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The weekly winter talks are held at St Mary’s Church in Penwortham every Monday night, starting at 7.30pm.

The next speaker will be Mark Cocker on Monday 28 October. Mark is a renowned naturalist and environmental tutor, who was recently seen on Channel 4 News commenting on the NBN State of Nature Report 2019. His talk is titled Our Place – Can we Save Britain’s Wildlife Before it’s too Late?

To find out more about the Society visit their website or Facebook page.

Read moreSee what’s on in Preston

Do you fancy joining the Preston Society – Birdwatching and Natural History? Let us know in the comments below.

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