The BSFA’s history in numbers

I was intending to tell you some interesting tidbits about this year’s BSFA Awards – but you’ll have to wait until I have one last piece of information: the approximate current number of BSFA members. I emailed away for the details earlier today, but here I was, sitting in front of a web browser with access to a search engine… which is how I came to be reading the eleventh issue of Peter Weston’s Prolapse fanzine, dated May 2008.

The fanzine features a write-up of one of the BSFA’s fiftieth anniversary events that year at Eastercon, organized by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer. What interested me most about the write-up, given what was on my mind, was the discussion of the BSFA’s membership history. I particularly appreciated Peter Weston’s graph of ’64 to ’78’s membership numbers. (p. 7) These were based on Greg Pickersgill’s work of compiling a history of membership numbers, beginning with a membership list published in Vector #2, from 69 members up to around 738 of them in 1980. By 2008, he estimated numbers were around 600.

I like having long-term data to play with, and between Greg Pickersgill’s (Unofficial) BSFA Archives and the Prolapse discussions, I’m feeling a little more orientated to the BSFA’s – and thus Vector‘s – development. If I use or abuse these numbers in the future, you’ll know where they came from.

One Response to “The BSFA’s history in numbers”

  1. Tony Keen Says:

    The ‘unofficial’ nature of Greg’s archive is a little unclear. Greg did ask if the BSFA wanted him to be official archivist, and the BSFA said yes, but though communication difficulties on both sides, I’m not sure if Greg ever properly got this message. I think this is something we should probably resolve one way or another.


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