Daniel Bliss, President 1931-32

Former Kew Guild President honoured at Swansea Botanical Gardens

By Janette Ames, 2019

Earlier in the year, the Guild Archives had an enquiry from Pamela Morgan, former Chair of the Friends of the City of Swansea Botanical Complex, and amateur historian of the parks. As part of preparations for a centenary celebration, she was researching a former Guild President and Kew Gardens staff member, Daniel Bliss.

The Archive at Kew holds former staff files and happily we were able to help Pamela with her research. Daniel Bliss worked at Kew Gardens from 1892-1895 (reaching the position of sub foreman of  orchids in 1894) and was President of the Kew Guild in 1931-1932.  

Daniel Bliss was also the creator of the Botanical Gardens in Singleton Park in Swansea and although the Botanical Gardens has been extended a number of times, the core of it is to his designAs Pamela says ‘Until I started this research I had not heard of Daniel Bliss,  he has faded from the collective memory here.   He is so important to the Botanical Gardens that we take every opportunity to mention him.’

2019 sees the first of two centenaries for the Botanical Gardens, which acknowledges the purchase of the grounds by the Council in 1919. The second centenary in 2023 celebrates the opening of the Botanical Gardens to the public.

This extract from the commemorative centenary panel in the Botanical Gardens highlights some of the work Daniel Bliss did when he became responsible for the area in 1919. ‘In the glasshouses he [Bliss] put together collections of ferns, cacti, orchids and other exotic plants which needed warmth and protection. In the grounds he created a collection of hardy plants, including shrubs and trees from Britain and the world and a rockery of alpine plants. It quickly became one of the premier establishments for horticultural excellence in the whole of Britain’

Guild members visiting the area might be interested in a trip to the Botanical Gardens, where you can see Daniel Bliss featured on the centenary panel, unveiled at a special ceremony on 4th August. Click the link below for more information.



(photograph courtesy of Pamela Bliss)

4 Comments on “Daniel Bliss, President 1931-32

    • Thanks Jean, although full credit goes to our lovely archivist, Janette.

  1. Hi I’m doing some genealogy on Daniel so I found this interesting.

    Daniel was the next brother down from my great grandfather Joseph. Joseph was born near Forres in 1869, Daniel was born (or christened) there on 15th April 1871. They had 14 other brothers and sisters, 7 of them half siblings. Their father Thomas was footman for the Earl of Moray on his estates there. I noticed that Daniel’s daughter Dorothy was listed as born in Leeds on the 1911 census. It turns out he married Florence Gibbons who (in 1901) was a parlour maid in Kew in October 1901 and by 1902 was living in Leeds as Head Park Keeper (there is an entry for him in the Leeds Kelly’s directory for 1902 and 1903 but not 1904. Dorothy was born in 1903. By 1911 the family were living in Swansea and then the history I can find is this blog and one by Iolo Williams here https://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/wales/entries/645d8842-da29-404d-9dfd-cc2c2035a69c

    I’d be happy and curious to pool information if anyone is interested.

    Jonathan Bliss

  2. Hi Jonathan, thanks for your comment, very interesting and it’s great to expand on Daniel’s time as President of the Guild. Janette, our Archivist, is the lady responsible for the biography on our web site. I will make sure she is alerted to your comment so that she can work with you.
    All the best, Sara, Secretary.

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