Michael Fabricant has been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts in
its 250th year. Its President is the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.
Michael is the second MP in Staffordshire to become an FRSA: Sir Patrick
Cormack became a fellow some years back.
"It is a great honour to be invited to join the Royal Society", says Michael
Fabricant. "At first I wondered why I had been invited. But the full title
of the Society is ‘The Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts,
Manufactures & Commerce’ so I guess that my previous career in manufacturing
broadcasting equipment and selling systems abroad made me a suitable
The Royal Society was founded in 1754 and previous Fellows include
Lichfield’s Dr Samuel Johnson.
In 1753, following the lead of the Dublin Society for improving Husbandry,
Manufactures and other Useful Arts, which had been established in 1731,
painter and social activist William Shipley published a proposal for a fund
to support improvements in the liberal arts, sciences and manufactures.
Revenues would be raised through subscription. In 1754, the first meeting
of Shipley’s organisation, the Society for the encouragement of Arts,
Manufactures and Commerce, was held at Rawthmell’s coffee house in Covent
Garden, London. Awards were offered for drawing, and for the production of
cobalt and madder (dye). Then in 1756 The Society’s first medals are
awarded. Benjamin Franklin, Jonas Hanway, William Hogarth, Thomas Hollis,
Samuel Johnson and Joshua Steele all become Fellows of the Society.