Collection FHR - Fletcher, H.R. (Regius Keeper 1956 -1970)

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Fletcher, H.R. (Regius Keeper 1956 -1970)


  • 1907 - 1978 (Creation)

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11 boxes of correspondence, dating from 1963 - 1968 arranged alphabetically. 4 boxes of correspondence dated 1961-1965 arranged chronologically. 3 boxes misc. correspondence & papers. 1 box photographs & 2 files of photographs & correspondence. Lecture notes.

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Biographical history

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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•H.R. Fletcher’s Taxonomic Lecture Notes
•1 box of miscellaneous papers, including notes, correspondence, newspaper cuttings, etc. regarding ‘A Quest of Flowers’ – Ludlow and Sherriff, miscellaneous information on National Trust Gardens and Island Cruises (where Fletcher was on board as a Botany expert) – 1963-1966, and manuscripts of ‘History of Investigation of British Flora,’ and ‘The Exploration of the Scottish Flora’, published in 1959.
•Correspondence regarding Fletcher’s election as a member of the Garden Society in1955, including an historical note.
•3 boxes of Fletcher correspondence form 1963 organised alphabetically
•2 boxes of Fletcher correspondence from 1965 organised alphabetically
•2 boxes of Fletcher correspondence form 1966 organised alphabetically
•2 boxes of Fletcher correspondence from 1967 organised alphabetically
•2 boxes of Fletcher correspondence from 1968 organised alphabetically
•4 boxes of Fletcher correspondence with various people in the U.S.A. organised chronologically from 1961-1965.
•1 box of miscellaneous papers, taxonomy notes and correspondence
•1 file of Fletcher correspondence from 1962-1963 regarding donations to B.L. Burtt and Woods expedition to Malaysia
•1 file containing 2 photographs, miscellaneous correspondence, lists, publications, his application for the post of Office of Director of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Gardens at Wisely, Surrey and his application for the appointment of Director of the Cambridge Botanic Garden (1950).
•1 box of 11 photographs taken by the Scottish Daily Express
•1 box of miscellaneous correspondence 1957-61

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  • Shelf: D:5:3
  • Shelf: D:5:4
  • Shelf: D:5:5