The origins and originators of early statistical societies: a comparison of Liverpool and Manchester


Christopher O'Brien, Centre for Risk and Insurance Studies, Nottingham University Business School, Wollaton Road, Nottingham, NG8 1BB, UK.


Summary.  One of the provincial statistical societies of the 1830s was in Liverpool, its formation stimulated by the British Association's meeting in Liverpool in 1837. Like the statistical society in nearby Manchester, its members were drawn largely from industry and commerce, with Liberals and Unitarians much in evidence. The Liverpool society achieved little and survived only briefly, its failure partly reflecting the difficulties that were faced by an amateur organization. It had a large membership with diverse interests, with many members occupied with local politics. We compare it with the Manchester Statistical Society, which had a closed, younger and more cohesive membership, with significant family and business links, helping that society to adapt and survive.