Glasgow West End Glass House 3

03May12

 

copy-of-kibble-1875 Thomas Hopkirk, a distinguished Glasgow botanist, was the founder of the Botanic Gardens and with the support of a number of local dignitaries and the University of Glasgow the Gardens were set up in 1817.

The Garden was originally laid out on an 8 acre site at Sandyford at the western end of Sauchiehall Street (at that time, on the edge of the city). Laying out the grounds was the work of Stewart Murray, the first curator. Three thousand plants were donated by Hopkirk as the nucleus of the collection. The Garden flourished to such an extent that in 1839 a new site, to the west of the city on the banks of the River Kelvin, was purchased to house the rapidly expanding collections. In 1842 the new Gardens – on their present site – were opened to members of the Royal Botanic Institution of Glasgow who owned and managed the Botanic Garden. The public were admitted at weekends for a small charge.

In 1821 William Jackson Hooker, one of the most eminent botanists in the world at the time, was appointed to the Regius Chair of Botany at the University of Glasgow. During the twenty years the Gardens were under his guidance they went from strength to strength. In 1825 the collections numbered 12,000. In 1841 Hooker was appointed Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

David Douglas was born at Scone near Perth. In 1820 he took up a post at Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Professor Hooker took a great liking to Douglas and the two men made a number of botanical trips together to the Scottish Highlands while Hooker was writing his book “Flora Scotica.” It was on Hooker’s recommendation that the Horticultural Society (not yet ‘Royal’) employed Douglas in 1823 as an explorer. He was sent to North America and in 1826 sent home seeds of Pseudotsuga menziesii – the Douglas Fir.

 

 

 

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