In 2023 we implemented some changes in our membership scheme, and launched a new website which made it possible to join easily in only a few minutes. We are delighted to say that we have recruited over 60 new members in 2023. This represents significant growth for us, as it is an increase of about 25% in our individual membership.
Some of our members had told us that they wished to support the Society's work, but they didn't have the space to accommodate an annual series of large hardback books; their only option was to resign from the Society. In response, we set up a 'digital' membership for members who didn't want to receive the annual volume as a physical book. Instead, they now access it via our website as a pdf digital facsimile. At the same time, we made an agreement with JSTOR to enable all of our members to have acess to all of our past volumes, from vol 1 in 1911-12 onwards. We established new categories, such as Joint and Life memberships.
The Walpole Society has a proud tradition of not raising its membership fee: the price of membership established by our founders in 1911 – £1 a year – remained unchanged until the late 1950s. It was with reluctance, therefore, that in 2023, as part of these membership changes, we also raised our prices for the first time since 2008, to account for changes in the cost of postage and print production during that time. Even so, membership now costs as little as £20 a year for students enrolled on a degree course.
Some of our 2023 new members were rejoining the Society after having resigned some years before, now taking advantage of the digital option. Many others are entirely new to the Society. We welcome – and welcome back – all, and thank you all for your support for our work.