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People & Organisations

Kenneth, Archibald Graham

  • KAG
  • Person
  • 1915-1989

Born 1915 Argyllshire; died Argyllshire 1989
Archie Kenneth, a 'fine Highland gentleman' was born on the 6th June 1915 at Shirvan, Lochgilphead, Argyll. He never knew his father as he died at Gallipoli just over a month after his birth; his mother was Katherine Louisa nee Graham-Campbell of Shirvan. After being educated in England, Archie Kenneth settled down as a country gentleman and amateur botanist on his estate at Ardrishaig in Argyllshire, where, following his mother's passion he cultivated specimens of rhododendron. During the Second World War he served in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in France.
As a botanist he specialised in marsh orchids and in the hawkweeds of Wester Ross and Sutherland contributing to Cunningham’s’ ‘The Flora of Kintyre’, but his expertise and involvement ranged much wider than that. He became a member of the B.S.B.I. in 1957 and botanised and recorded extensively throughout Perthshire, Argyll, Kintyre, Westerness, Ross-shire, Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides - the bulk of the his notebooks now stored in the RBGE Archives relate to his exploration of Knapdale - VC101.
However it is as a traditional musician and composer and editor of pipe music that he is better known. In 1947 he was elected to the music committee of the Piobaireachd Society and became editor of its 15 volume published collection in 1963. His interests in traditional music ranged from Gaelic song and Scottish fiddle music through to new wave rock and he is remembered through an annual amateur piobaireachd competition for the Archie Kenneth Quaich.
He died after a brief battle with lung cancer on the 27th July 1989 at the age of 74.
Information from this biography came from: The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, v.31 (2004), pp.280-1; Watsonia, v.18 (1990), pp.242-4; the B.S.B.I. Scottish Newsletter (1990), pp.4-7; R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’; Piobaireachd Society website
D.W. and L.P.

Léveillé, A.A. Hector

  • LEV
  • Person
  • 1864-1918

Augustin Léveillé attended medical school prior to entering into the priesthood. In 1887 he travelled to India as a missionary and was then appointed a professor of natural history at the College of Pondicherry. In 1891 he returned to France for health reasons, settling in his hometown of Le Mans. Following a meeting with botanist Adrien René Franchet in 1900, he agreed to perform studies on the many thousands of plant specimens sent by collectors from the Far East. From these shipments Léveillé is credited with describing around 2000 new species with many of the plants being co-described along with Father Eugène Vaniot. In 1892 he founded the magazine Le Monde des Plantes, serving as its director until his death. During the same year he founded the Académie internationale de géographie botanique (International Academy of Botanical Geography). He published several monographs on plants collected from Japan and China as well as a dictionary of French flora in 1916. Numerous species are named in his honour, as well as the genus Leveillea (family Asteraceae). His herbarium was acquired by Scottish botanist George Forrest.
Source: Wikipedia

McIntosh, Charles

  • MCI
  • Person
  • 1839-1922

Born Perthshire 1839; died Perthshire 1922
Charles McIntosh, sometimes known as ‘The Perthshire Naturalist’, was a postman whose rounds enabled him to observe and study the local flora and fauna of rural Perthshire. He was a member of the Perthshire Society of Natural Science and later the Cryptogamic Society of Scotland. He became friends with the young Beatrix Potter, then holidaying in the Dunkeld area, through their common interest in fungi, and helped improve the accuracy of her illustrations, taught her taxonomy and supplied live specimens to paint during the winter. McIntosh discovered thirteen species of fungus completely new to Britain and four new to science and some of his collection is now in the City of Perth museum. He contributed to FBW White’s ‘Fl. Perthshire’ published in1898.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’;‘Perthshire Diary’ for 1922; City of Perth Council website

Menzies, Archibald

  • MEN
  • Person
  • 1754-1842

Born Perthshire 1754, died London 1842
Archibald Menzies was initially employed as a gardener at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh (then on Leith Walk) where the Regius Keeper, John Hope, stimulated his interest in botany. In 1778 he toured the Highlands and Hebrides collecting plants and Hope later encouraged him to study medicine. He graduated from Edinburgh University in 1781 and joined the Royal Navy where his career as a naval surgeon took him all over the world. He was chosen as naturalist and surgeon on the Discovery under Captain Vancouver on a long voyage exploring and charting the coasts of north-west America and the Pacific from 1790 to 1795. Menzies made the first recorded ascent by a European of Mauna Loa in Hawaii. He brought back a great variety of plants, cryptogams and natural history objects from his expeditions. He introduced to Britain the monkey puzzle araucaria araucana and wrote the first description of the Douglas fir, pseudotsuga menziesii. In 1790 he was elected fellow of the Linnaean Society in whose transactions he published accounts of his natural history findings during the 1790s as well as publishing an account of the Discovery voyage in the contemporary ‘Magazine of Natural History’. However he tended to rely on other botanists to publicise and interpret his findings and some of his journals were not published until the twentieth century. After retiring from the navy, Menzies practised as a doctor in London and on his death his herbarium of grasses, sedges and cryptogams was bequeathed to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; HR Fletcher and WH Brown ‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1670-1970’; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’; (R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists)

Neill, Patrick

  • NEI
  • Person
  • 1776-1851

Born Edinburgh 1776; died Edinburgh 1851
Descended from East Lothian printers, Patrick Neill attended Edinburgh University though did not graduate. He joined the family firm of printers and eventually established his own firm of Neill & Co. ; the success of his company allowed him to devote much time to scientific pursuits. In 1804 he visited Orkney and Shetland and accounts of his natural history and economic observations appeared in The Scots Magazine. In 1808 he became a founder member of the Wernerian Natural History Society comprising leading lights of the Scottish scientific community as well as eminent international members. In 1809 he became first secretary of the Caledonian Horticultural Society (CHS), a position he was to hold for the next 40 years. This Society, still active today, brought together professional and amateur gardeners, academics, landowners and nurserymen. William Neill had inherited Canonmills Cottage in north Edinburgh and in its half acre garden created a ‘mini’ botanic garden with thousands of rare and unusual plants from all over the world, as well as a small menagerie. In 1813 Neill produced a report on Scottish Gardens and Orchards, the first general survey of Scottish horticulture, and in 1817 was commissioned by the CHS to examine the state of horticulture in Northern Europe involving an extensive trip through France and the Low Countries. In the 1820s he advised Edinburgh town council on the development East Princes St Gardens leading to new plantings of 27,000 trees and shrubs, though the design was subsequently wrecked by the building of the railway and Scott Monument in the 1840s. Neill was held in high regard by his fellow citizens as evidenced by his 1843 testimonial silver vase paid for by working gardeners, and the Caledonian Society’s successful growth and influence owed much to Neill’s enthusiasm and careful administration. He died in 1851 and among his charitable bequests was £500 to the Royal CHS to found a medal for a distinguished botanist or cultivator, and the same amount to the Royal Society of Edinburgh for a medal for distinguished Scottish naturalists.
Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; ‘Patrick Neill , Doyenne of Scottish Horticulture’Forbes W Robertson; (R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists).

Stainton, J.D.A.

  • STA
  • Person
  • 1921-1991

Born London 1921; died 1991
J D A (Adam) Stainton was educated at Winchester College and Oxford University where he read history. He joined the Scots Guards in 1940, serving in North Africa, Italy and Northern Europe. After the war he returned to Oxford, completing his degree in 1948. He then worked as a barrister until 1952, but with family wealth abandoned this career to become a plant collector. Having consulted the British Museum (Natural History) on botanical travel he joined, totally at his own expense, Museum expeditions to Nepal in 1954 1956. He went on further collecting trips to Chitral, Greece, Turkey and North Borneo between 1958 and 1961; and from 1962 to 1972 to the Himalayas. Self taught in botany and ecology, Stainton was the author of ‘Forests of Nepal’ (1972) and the photographically illustrated field guides ‘Flowers of the Himalayas’ (with Oleg Polunin 1984) and Supplement (1988). Stainton identified Meconopsis autumnalis, the Nepalese Autumn Poppy and 36 species, mainly from Nepal, bear his name.
Source: WT Stearn ‘Taxon’ International Association for Plant Taxonomy

Crewdson, Cicely Maud

  • CRE
  • Person
  • 1882-1966

Born Surrey 1882; died Westmoreland 1966
Cicely Nichols, the daughter of a Surrey printer, married William Crewdson a barrister and later High Sherriff in 1907. In 1911 they moved to Westmoreland eventually having three daughters. In 1914 William Crewdson went to war, serving in Burma where Cicely joined him in 1915. She returned home in 1916, William in 1919. After the war Cicely’s interests turned more and more to flowering plants, particularly alpines, which she grew in her garden at Helme Lodge, Kendal. In 1931 she had an article published in <i>‘Popular Gardening’</i> and thereafter produced a series of articles in various Alpine Garden Society magazines, including the <i>Journal of The Scottish Rock Garden Club</i>. Her expertise developed through a lifetime correspondence with alpine specialists and she brought back seeds from her travels in Europe. Primulas were a particular speciality but she is best known for her hybrid blue poppy <i>Meconopsis crewdson</i>.
Source: 'Recollections of Cicely Maud Crewdson', unpublished family memoir in RBGE Library.

Lace, John Henry

  • LAC
  • Person
  • 1857-1918

John Henry Lace C.I.E. F.L.S 1857-1918

1881: Gained the Diploma of the National School of Forestry at Nancy passing out 2nd. This was the premier College at that time. Appointed to the Forestry Dept. of India in the Punjab. Worked at Gujranwala and Chamba.
1900: Transferred to Calcutta and Simla as Assistant Inspector General of Forests and Superintendent of Working Plans.
1901: Appointed Conservator of Forests Bengal based at HQ Darjeeling.
1904 Transferred to Burma as Conservator then Chief Conservator in 1908. (From 1906-07 he was Principal of Dehra Dun College and its Silviculturist)
1913 Retired to England. Worked at Kew with W.G. Craib on the “Burma List”.
1918 Died at Exmouth.

In the Punjab, Lace collected forest flora over a wide area in the newly organised Forest Circle of British Baluchistan. Many specimens were sent back to Kew. The Linnean Society published his “Sketch of the Vegetation” in 1891. It remains the chief authority of Flora on the Quetta area.
In Calcutta and Simla, he extended his collection of flora before moving to Darjeeling with its higher altitude plants. His work here is his main claim to fame. “He was a great critic, and was at times hard to please, but always helped in anything that was sound, and was an excellent man to work under”. (From the Indian Forester)
In Burma his chief interest was the botanical study of the Maymyo Hills and the Shan States. He created the “List of the Trees, Shrubs and Climbers of Burma” which became a standard reference for botanists. This proved him to be a first class observer, memoriser and photographer. His labelling of plants was impeccable.
Distribution: Lace was generous in distributing his collections: one nearly complete went to Kew; others to Calcutta, Oxford and friends. His own complete collection came to RBG in Edinburgh. All his specimens were meticulously prepared.
Retirement: Lace spent much time at Kew working with W G Craib, expanding his “Burma List” and starting work on “Forest Flora of the Maymyo Hills”. Because of his untimely death, this work remained unfinished.
Family: Lace married the eldest daughter of W H Reynolds FRGS, Superintendent of the Indian Forest Services They had three daughters. The family settled in Exmouth, Devon, and after the outbreak of war in 1914, Lace served in the Exmouth Volunteers. While serving with them, Lace contracted a chill which lead to his untimely death. It is probable that if he had lived longer his reputation would have burgeoned still further.

Collins, James

  • COL
  • Person
  • fl.1846-1900

Economic Botanist: Particular interests in India Rubber and Gutta Percha
Curator Royal Pharmaceutical Society Library and Museum, London 1868-1872
Curator Raffles Library and Museum, Singapore 1874-1877
Fellow of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh

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