agricultural societies

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The Royal Society, founded in 1660, made enquiries into agriculture during its early years. Agriculture was among the chief concerns of the Society of Improvers, founded in Scotland in 1723, the Dublin Society, formed in 1731, and the Society of Arts (1754). The Smithfield Club (1798) was established to promote the improvement of livestock. At the annual dinner of the Smithfield Club in 1837 the third Earl Spencer proposed the formation of the Royal Agricultural Society of England, which was founded the following year. It was concerned to show how scientific discoveries could help the advancement of agriculture and it quickly attracted the support of influential landowners. The Farmers’ Club, founded in London in 1842, was another influential body. Some local societies came into existence, inspired by the Society of Arts; the first was the Brecknockshire Society (1755). Numerous local societies were founded in many parts of Britain during the period 1750–1850; about 400 were in existence by 1840. See Nicholas Goddard, ‘Agricultural Literature and Societies’, in G. E. Mingay (ed.), The Agrarian History of England and Wales, vi: 1750–1850 (1989). See also shows, agricultural.

Subjects: History.

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