Records of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Details of RM
Reference: RM
Title: Records of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

The records held in the Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, comprising:

  • Papers of Francis Kingdon-Ward, Explorer and Botanist, in RM 1;
  • Papers of Marianne North, Botanical Painter, in RM 2;
  • Papers of Sir Joseph Banks, Botanist, in RM 3;
  • Papers of George Bentham, Botanist, in RM 4;
  • Papers of Joseph Hooker, Director of Kew Gardens, in RM 5;
  • Papers of Sir William Jackson Hooker, Botanist and first Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in RM 6;
  • Papers relating to the Pleasure Grounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in RM 7;
  • Papers relating to Richard Spruce, Explorer and Botanist, in RM 8;
  • Papers of Sir Arthur William Hill, Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in RM 9;
  • Papers of Henry Nicholas Ridley, Director of Gardens and Forests, Straits Settlements, in RM 10;
  • Papers relating to Kew Collectors, in RM 11;
  • Papers of Augustine Henry, Plant collector, in RM 12;
  • Papers relating to William Burchell, Botanist, in RM 13;
  • Second World War papers, in RM 14;
  • Papers relating to John Eliot Howard, Quinologist, in RM 15;
  • Papers of the Lovell Reeve Publishing Company, in RM 16;
  • Papers relating to Colin Graham Trapnell OBE, in RM 17;
  • Papers of Dr William Arnold Bromfield, Botanist, in RM 18;
  • Papers relating to African expeditions, in RM 19;
  • Papers of Norman Douglas Simpson, Botanist, in RM 20;
  • Economic Botany Collection papers, in RM 21;
  • Papers of George W Robinson, horticulturist, in RM 22.

NOTE: Please use the document references found in the 'Former reference (Department)' field when wishing to consult these documents at the Archives of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

For series created for regularly archived websites, please see the separate Websites Division.

Date: 1764-2016
Held by: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Library and Archives
The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

Royal Botanic Gardens, 1772-

Physical description: 31 series
Access conditions: No records held at The National Archives in this departmental code
Administrative / biographical background:

There existed gardens at Kew as early as the 16th century. In the mid 18th century, there were two separate gardens at Kew, surrounding the homes of King George II and his son, Frederick Prince of Wales. Upon the death of Frederick in 1751, his widow Princess Augusta devoted much of her time to the development of the Gardens aided by the Earl of Bute. In 1757 she appointed William Chambers as Architect who undertook a building programme in the Gardens. Buildings such as the Pagoda and the Orangery can still be seen today.

The year 1759 saw the appointment of William Aiton from the Chelsea Physic Garden as Gardener; which marked the start of the Gardens' scientific era. Upon the death of Augusta, her son George III inherited his mother's Gardens. From 1773, Sir Joseph Banks exerted some influence over the management of Kew Gardens, during which time the Gardens was developed with a wide range of exotic plants. The Gardens underwent a decline upon the death of John Banks in 1820, and in 1838 the Treasury instituted an investigation of all Royal Gardens under the direction of John Lindley.

In 1840, Kew was transferred from the Lord Steward to the Office of Woods and Forests under the Directorship of Sir William Hooker, thus ending a century of Royal Control. In 1903, the Gardens were again transferred to a different department, the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries, later known as MAAF and from 2001 DEFRA. In 1984, Kew Gardens became a non departmental public body under the National Heritage Act 1983.

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