Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Lunar Society

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The Lunar Society (1765-1813) was a discussion club of prominent industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals who met regularly in Birmingham.

At first called the Lunar Circle, 'Lunar Society' became the formal name by 1775. The society's name came from their practice of scheduling their meetings at the time of the full moon. Since there was no street lighting, the extra light made the journey home easier and safer. They cheerfully referred to themselves as "lunaticks", a pun for lunatics.

Venues included Erasmus Darwin's home in Lichfield, Matthew Boulton's home, Soho House, and Great Barr Hall.

The members of the Lunar Society were very influential in Britain. Amongst those who attended meetings more or less regularly were:-

More peripheral characters and correspondents included:-

Antoine Lavoisier frequently corresponded with various members of the group, as did Benjamin Franklin, who also visited them in Birmingham on several occasions.

As the members grew older and died, the Lunar Society ceased to be very active and was closed in 1813. Most former members had died by 1820.

Among memorials to the Society and its members are the Moonstones; two statues of Watt and a statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch, by William Bloye; and the museum at Soho House – all in Birmingham, England.

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