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RBGE’s World War Two Memorial

Situated beneath the Memorial to the members of staff at RBGE who gave their lives during the First World War is a smaller, but no less poignant memorial…

A Desperate Escape – George Forrest on the run in China, July 1905

Some of us may be lucky, or in this case, unlucky enough to experience a life altering event that comes to define us whether we want it to…

The Tale of Anne and Beatrix

Research about Victorian botanical illustrator Anne Pratt turns into a Beatrix Potter book binding mystery… Anne Pratt was born in 1806 and, suffering from poor health as a…

A Herbal Mystery

Whilst helping to catalogue the library’s rare book collection for my Book History and Material Culture placement, I came across a herbal from 1586 that contained a very…

In memory of Captain Robert Chapman Davie (1886-1919)

“Indirectly the war has robbed the Botanical Society of a member of its Council and a frequent contributor to its meetings in the person of Dr. R.C. Davie,…

Christmas Island and other ventures – legacy of RBGE gardener David Reid Tait

When I was contacted by Dr Bill Lynch in August 2018 with a query about a former RBGE gardener called David R. Tait and his work for Sir…

In memory of Corporal Henry McBeath (1878-1918)

Henry McBeath was from Rogart in Sutherland, born in November 1878 to James McBeath, a farm grieve (foreman) and his wife Johan from Rovie, a farm in Rogart…

Rare Book Collection

Interleaving in the RBGE Collections, Part 1: The Flora of Forfarshire

By Hannah Swan Before publisher’s bindings were de rigueur, texts came in flimsy paper ‘wrappers’, leaving the permanent binding to the new owner. Because of this, many books from…

In memory of Gunner Andrew Ewing Calder (1884-1918)

Andrew Ewing Calder was born in Stockbridge, Edinburgh, on the 12th January 1884 to Robert Calder, a blacksmith, and his wife Sarah Jane, who was a tailoress. Calder…

Rare Book Collection

Comparative Editions: Ryff’s ‘Kurtzes Handbüchlein und Experiment vieler Artzneyen durch den gantzen Cörper des Menschens…’

By Hannah Swan While browsing our Rare Book Collection, we recently came across a boxed book that was as of yet uncatalogued in our online system, Kurtzes Handbüchlein…

Rare Book Collection

A Mystery of Provenance: Boccone’s ‘Recherches et Observations Naturelles’

By Hannah Swan Paolo Boccone’s Recherches et Observations Naturelles de Monsieur BOCCONE, Gentilhomme Sicilien…, published in the translated French in 1674 in Amsterdam, offers several tantalizing clues of…

In memory of Private James Christopher Adam (1882-1918), and his brother Lt. Robert Moyes Adam (1885-1967)

The 21st March 2018 marks the centenary of the death of Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) Helper James Christopher Adam. He was the older brother of RBGE’s photographer…

The Battle of Glen Tilt

“was ye at the Glen o’ Tilt, An’ did the shindy see, man? John Hutton Balfour, Regius Keeper at the RBGE and Professor of Botany at the University…

In memory of Lance Sergeant James Maxwell Hampson (1891-1918)

The 8th March 2018 marks the centenary of the death of James Maxwell Hampson, former labourer at RBGE. He was born in around May 1891 in Neston, Cheshire,…

In memory of Private John Mathieson Brown (1887-1917)

The story of Private John Mathieson Brown, who was killed on the 24th November 1917, takes us away from the Western Front in Belgium and France, and focusses…

RBGE’s visionary photographer: Robert Moyes Adam (1885-1967)

November 13th 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Robert Moyes Adam, a man central to the origins of RBGE’s photography unit. Often referred to as…

In memory of Lance Corporal Samuel Stewart (1883-1917)

The RBGE Guild’s publications are invaluable to those researching RBGE’s 20th century history. Based on Kew Garden’s Guild which is still in existence, ours was established in 1913…

In memory of Private Duncan Coutts (1892-1917)

Duncan Coutts was born on the 20th June 1892 to John, a garden overseer, and his wife Euphemia (nee Riddel) at Methlick, Aberdeenshire. He was a Probationer Forester…

In memory of Private John Hatley (1879-1917)

John Hatley wasn’t at RBGE very long, joining us on 23rd July 1914 as a labourer at the age of 35. Genealogical researcher Garry Ketchen has been able…

In memory of Private Thomas Aird (1878-1917) and Private Thomas Young

When war began in August 1914, whilst most of RBGE’s male staff were joining the Royal Scots and the Cameron Highlanders, two of our staff members enlisted in…