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Posts Tagged ‘Horticultural Society of London’

Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Geographical Society of London (1830)
1830 –

The Geographical Society of London was founded in 1830 under the name Geographical Society of London as an institution to promote the ‘advancement of geographical science’. It later absorbed the older African Association, which had been founded by Sir Joseph Banks in 1788, as well as the Raleigh Club and the Palestine Association.

Like many learned societies, it had started as a dining club in London, where select members held informal dinner debates on current scientific issues and ideas.

Founding members of the Society included Sir John Barrow, Sir John Franklin and Sir Francis Beaufort. Under the patronage of King William IV it later became known as The Royal Geographical Society (RGS) and was granted its Royal Charter under Queen Victoria in 1859.

From 1830 – 1840 the RGS met in the rooms of the Horticultural Society in Regent Street.

The history of the Society was closely allied for many of its earlier years with ‘colonial’ exploration in Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the polar regions, and central Asia especially.

It has been a key associate and supporter of many notable explorers and expeditions, including those of Darwin, Livingstone, Stanley, Scott, Shackleton, Hunt and Hillary.

The early history of the Society is inter-linked with the history of British Geography, exploration and discovery. Information, maps, charts and knowledge gathered on expeditions was sent to the RGS, making up its now unique geographical collections. The Society published its first journal in 1831.

The society also presents many awards to geographers that have contributed to the advancement of geography.

The most prestigious of these awards are the Gold Medals (Founder’s Medal 1830 and the Patron’s Medal 1838). The award is given for “the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery”. The awards originated as an annual gift of fifty guineas from King William IV, first made in 1831, “to constitute a premium for the encouragement and promotion of geographical science and discovery”.

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Regency Personalities Series

In my attempts to provide us with the details of the Regency, today I continue with one of the many period notables.

Horticultural Society of London
1804-1861

Founded in 1804 in London, England, as the Horticultural Society of London, and gained its present name, Royal Horticultural Society, in a Royal Charter granted in 1861. The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity and claims to be “the world’s largest gardening charity”. The RHS quotes its charitable purpose as “The encouragement and improvement of the science, art and practice of horticulture in all its branches”.

The creation of a British horticultural society was suggested by John Wedgwood (son of Josiah Wedgwood) in 1800. His aims were fairly modest: he wanted to hold regular meetings, allowing the society’s members the opportunity to present papers on their horticultural activities and discoveries, to encourage discussion of them, and to publish the results. The society would also award prizes for gardening achievements.

Wedgwood discussed the idea with his friends, but it was four years before the first meeting, of seven men, took place, on 7 March 1804 at Hatchards bookshop in Piccadilly, London. Wedgwood was chairman; also present were William Townsend Aiton (successor to his father, William Aiton, as Superintendent of Kew Gardens), Sir Joseph Banks (President of the Royal Society), James Dickson (a nurseryman), William Forsyth (Superintendent of the gardens of St. James’s Palace and Kensington Palace), Charles Francis Greville (a Lord of the Admiralty) and Richard Anthony Salisbury, who became the Secretary of the new society.

Banks proposed his friend Thomas Andrew Knight for membership. The proposal was accepted, despite Knight’s ongoing feud with Forsyth over a plaster for healing tree wounds which Forsyth was developing. Knight was President of the society from 1811–1838, and developed the society’s aims and objectives to include a programme of practical research into fruit-breeding.

The society published its proceedings as the Transactions of the Horticultural Society of London from 1807 to 1848.

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