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Message to Members from Chair of Membership, Mr. Dick Bateman  (Sent to all Members in December 2020)

Over the last few months active members of BRLSI have been discussing difficult issues and before any decisions are made the views of the wider Membership would be helpful. If Members or prospective Members have views, please reply to Dick Bateman at [email protected]   by Friday, 5th February, please.       


  1. Raising Membership fees:  BRLSI has not raised Membership fees since 2005. In the current situation BRLSI needs to cut costs and raise income. One way to raise income is to raise Membership fees. This is what has been suggested:

Student fees from £8 to 10; Individual from £25 to 30; Couple from £40 to 50; Family from £45 to 55: Benefactor from £100 to £125. Life Membership to stay at £500.

Proviso: Before raising fees, we would need to improve the joining and renewing system because at the moment it is too clumsy for many of our Members.   


  1. Direct Debits and Bank Transfers: We currently offer the option of paying Membership fees by Standing Orders but there is a strong opinion within BRLSI to guide members to move towards Direct Debits and Bank Transfers.


  1. Giving each new Member 2 free tickets to Virtual Lectures for a trial in Spring 2021.


  1. Charging for Entry to BRLSI for Non-Members. Currently we do not charge Visitors for entry to BRLSI, so they can look round the exhibitions free and, if they wish, place a donation in the donations box. We are discussing whether we should charge Visitors a nominal amount, say £2, for Exhibition entry. Members would continue to have free entry.


  1. Setting up ‘Virtual Memberships’  Since March 2020 we have built up a Virtual BRLSI You Tube Channel containing over 100 video-recordings of live Zoom lectures, plus PowerPoint videos. To access these and to join our live Zoom events free of charge, we are proposing a Virtual BRLSI Membership for £10 or £15 annually. It would not allow Virtual Members into live lectures as and when we resume, hopefully in the Spring or Summer of 2021.


Other issues being discussed throughout BRLSI that you might like to be aware of include:


  • A ‘Member Get Member’ scheme has been proposed to grow Membership. It works this way. If you as an existing Member, persuades someone to join, both of you get a £10 discount on an Individual Membership for one year only, then reverting to the full fee thereafter. This would encourage new Members and benefit those existing Members who recruit new Members.
  • Moving most of BRLSI activities downstairs to the Jenyns, Breton, Lockey and possibly Moore Rooms, though Elwin would be kept for large-audience lectures. Duncan and Lonsdale Rooms might be let long-term to tenants or to continuous room hire.
  • Having an entrance through No 18 Queen Square to allow disabled access.
  • Investigating the possibility of a café in the new ‘downstairs’ BRLSI
  • Having a permanent Museum room separate from the exhibition space downstairs, to show off a rotating selection of artifacts from our Collections.
  • Having live afternoon events, including music and readings in Jenyns.


I hope this has not bored you too much – but, as you see there is a lot of discussion going on just now among the 50 or so active Members of BRLSI. This is a chance for the other hundreds of Members to have your say – or for you to tell me your expertise and ask me to find you a slot helping to make these decisions.                                                                               Dick Bateman BRLSI Chair of Membership sub-Committee