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Nurseryman and external lecturer at RBGE. Apple variety bred by and named after him.
- VIAF ID: 297128477 (Personal)
Born Suffolk 1817, died Berkshire 1911
Joseph Hooker graduated MD from Glasgow University though a passion for botany had developed through attending his father’s (William Jackson Hooker) lectures from the age of 7. Inspired by Darwin’s voyage of the Beagle, he was appointed assistant surgeon and then expedition’s botanist aboard the HMS Erebus in 1839 which spent 4 years exploring the southern oceans. Returning to England he worked on ‘The Botany of the Antarctic Voyages ‘plates, the book eventually being published in 6 volumes in the 1840s and 1850s. He was asked by Darwin to assist in classifying plants Darwin had gathered in the Galapagos; this was the start of a lifelong correspondence and friendship. Hooker acted as a sounding board and later research collaborator for Darwin’s emerging thinking on natural selection. Hooker’s central interest was in the geographical distribution of plants and how species migrated. This had practical applications in the search for new plants and transplanting crops between British colonies for economic exploitation. In 1845 he failed to be appointed professor of botany at Edinburgh University but the following year was appointed botanist to the Geological Survey which led to valuable series of papers. Between 1847 and 1851 Hooker travelled to Sikkim, India and Nepal, collecting 7,000 species including 25 new rhododendrons. In 1855 was appointed assistant director at Kew, under his father William Hooker. He succeeded his father as Director in 1865, by which time he was a highly regarded botanist with an international reputation. He remained Director at Kew until his retirement in 1885. These 20 years saw the expansion of Kew’s imperial role e.g. in facilitating the transfer of cinchona from South America to India and rubber from Brazil to several British colonies. Hooker strove to maintain Kew’s scientific reputation by limiting public access and resisting proposals to transfer Kew’s herbaria to the Natural History Museum. A prolific author, he was elected president of the Royal Society in 1873 and was highly regarded in his lifetime, receiving numerous honours, honorary degrees and prizes.
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists; Journal of Botany 1912
Born in Ootacamund, India in 1862, Kenrick, although not a scientific botanist, amassed a large collection of herbarium specimens over a six decade period. He collected in India and around his later homes in England - much of this collection is at the Hull University Herbarium, but his 1886-7 Nilgiri collection from south India is now at the Herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. For more information see http://www.natstand.org.uk/time/KenrickHWGtime.htm
The Scottish botanist, filmmaker, author, poet, painter and arctic explorer Isobel Wylie Hutchison was born in 1889 at the family home of Carlowrie in West Lothian. As a youngster she became a self taught plant collector and naturalist enjoying solitary walks in the countryside. She longed to travel and amongst many journeys, travelled to the Holy Land by herself in 1923, before making four major expeditions north to the Arctic between 1927 and 1936, to Greenland, Alaska, Arctic Canada and the Aleutian Islands where she collected plants, took photographs and made films. She died in 1982.
After taking a BSc and PhD at the University of Hull, David Ingram was appointed research fellow in the botany department at Glasgow University in 1966, before moving to Cambridge in 1969 where he became first a lecturer in 1974 then, in 1988, reader in plant pathology; he was also Fellow, Tutor and Director of Studies in Biology at Downing College. In 1990 he was appointed Regius Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, a post he held until 1998. During his time as Keeper David Ingram initiated and oversaw a wealth of dynamic changes in the Garden. His period of office saw the founding of a new commercial arm – the Botanics Trading Company (BTC), and the setting up of the Friends of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. He reemphasised the pre-eminence of plant science, establishing new Molecular and Ultrastructure research laboratories and established a Scientific Advisory Group to provide international research links. His enthusiasm for education led to the creation of new courses in both Horticulture (HND Plantsmanship) and Science (MSc Biodiversity & Taxonomy of Plants) the latter a joint course with the University of Edinburgh, and fuelled expansion in the public face of the four gardens. David Ingram was also passionate about teaching young people the importance of plant science in a dynamic new way, and helped to set up the Science and Plants for Schools (SAPS) initiative which enables active experimentation in the classroom. Since his retirement from the Garden in 1998 he has been advisor to the University of Edinburgh on public engagement with science, has served on many related trusts, boards and panels, and has contributed to a range of publications on plant pathology, plant tissue and botany and his wider interests in culture and the history of art.
Sources: Who’s Who 2015; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’; foyer panel.
- GB/NNAF/P146637; ISNI: 0000 0000 8437 2178: VIAF ID: 33360817 (Personal)
James McNab was Principal Gardener at RBGE between 1848 and 1878.