Records of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
|Title:||Records of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew|
The records held in the Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, comprising:
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.
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Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Library and Archives
The National Archives, Kew
|Legal status:||Public Record(s)|
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.