The Historian/Archivist maintains the Archive of the Society which comprises:

The original desire for this history arose from the realisation that the Society was reaching its 25th. birthday, and the intention was that the then I.S.N. historian (Henry McIlwain) would write it.

The ideas and concepts of the ancients, through to the anatomists and physiologists of the 17th. and 18th. centuries which provided the foundations for man's motives in understanding the metabolism of nervous systems, and the more biochemical approaches in the 19th. century, have been detailed in the Donald Tower's most enjoyable and scholarly historical articles (Tower, 1958, 1981). Indeed for anyone interested in the development of the subject, these are highly recommended.

There were many apparently unrelated threads which contributed to the eventual fabric of the I.S.N.

As noted above, well before the formation of I.S.N., neurochemistry had had representation in the meetings of organizations such as the Mental Health Research Fund (M.H.R.F.) established in 1949, the World Federation of Neurology (W.F.N.), established in the mid 1950s, and the International Brain Research Organization (I.B.R.O.) from the early 1960s.

Some measure of the growth of the subject as an independent scientific discipline can be seen in the increase in membership of I.S.N. (Fig. 1) and in the increase in the pages published in the major journals devoted specifically to neurochemistry (Fig. 2).

The income of the society originally depended solely on members' subscriptions, and after the agreement with Pergamon in 1970 this was supplemented by some £400 per annum until 1974.

After completing his term as Chairman of the Nominating Committee in 1979, Victor Whittaker offered to organise the Membership Directory on a computerized basis. As noted above (Section 4) the precise membership was uncertain, so a considerable amount of correspondence was required to organise it satisfactorily.

The improved structure and financial state enabled the Society to create the numerous small Subcommittees,listed in Table 3.

Robert Maxwell moved from his native Czechoslovakia to the U.K. at the outbreak of the second World War. He served as an intelligence officer with the British Army, and so was quick to anticipate the post-war expansion of science described above, created Pergamon Press shortly after the war, and published many of the early international neurochemical symposia, listed in Table 1.

The I.S.N. Council decided in 1976 that it was time the society had an historian and asked the Secretary at the time, Jordi Folch-Pi, to take it on. He was formally appointed to the position in 1977 and served the society by writing its first history (Folch-Pi, 1980), and by starting the collection for the archives.

It is interesting, and at first sight surprising, that over the years the numbers of active participants at our bienniel meetings have remained static at around 700-900,

Bachelard, H.S. (1988). A Brief History of Neurochemistry in Britain and of the Neurochemical Group of the British Biochemical Society. J. Neurochem. 50, 992-995.
Elliott, K.A.C., Page, I.H. & Quastel, J.H., eds. (1955). Neurochemistry. Thomas, Springfield.
Folch-Pi, J. (1980). A brief history of the Society, ISN Membership Directory for 1980.