Fletcher, Harold Roy

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Fletcher, Harold Roy

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  • Harold Fletcher
  • Harold Roy Fletcher
  • Dr. Harold Fletcher

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Born Derbyshire 1907; died Edinburgh 1978
Harold Fletcher graduated in botany from Manchester University in 1929, and obtained a doctorate from Aberdeen University in 1933 where he lectured in botany. In 1934 he moved to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, continuing work on the taxonomy of Asiatic floras and gaining a DSc from Edinburgh University in 1939. Jointly with William Wright Smith he authored a key monograph on the genus primula, his other specialism being rhododendrons. Turning his attention to horticulture, he was appointed Director of the RHS Garden at Wisley in 1951 before returning to Edinburgh in 1954 as assistant Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and then Regius Keeper in 1956 (the point at which the posts of Regius Keeper and Regius Professor of the University were no longer held by one person). He energetically set about rejuvenating botany and horticulture in the Garden and oversaw a number of major developments including the refurbishment of Inverleith House as an art gallery, a purpose build Herbarium and Library which opened 1964, a new range of glasshouses, and the acquisition of the Logan Estate in Wigtownshire as a subtropical garden. He stimulated the post war revival of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh and was President of the International Association of Botanical Gardens 1964-69, having brought the Tenth International Botanical Congress to Edinburgh in 1964. Fletcher was appointed Queen’s Botanist in Scotland in 1967 and Honorary Professor of Botany at Edinburgh University in 1968. With W.H. Brown, he wrote the ‘History of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh 1670-1970’ and also authored books on the history of the RHS and plant explorers. Fletcher had a deep love of the arts and after his retirement in 1970 served on the board of the Edinburgh College of Art.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists; HR Fletcher and WH Brown ‘The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 1670-1970’; Deni Bown, ‘4 Gardens in One’.


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