Kew Guild

Derbyshire weekend, 11-13 August 2017

All Kew Guild members, spouses and friends are cordially invited to join us for a day or the weekend in beautiful Derbyshire. With visits to Broomfield Cottage, Hadden Hall, culminating in a guided tour of Chatsworth Garden.

Please note that there is a limited number of places available for these visits so booking is essential.

Once applications are received, those that have been successful will be advised directly by email with the final itinerary.

Closing date for applications 12th July 2017

Friday 11th : Broomfield College, Broomfield Hall, Morley, Ilkeston, DE7 6DN
Broomfield College guided tour by ex Kew Guild student Samantha Harvey. Please arrive for 2.00pm.  Meet at reception to pick up Visitors Pass (they require names for passes in plenty of time). Start tour at 3.00pm, for about 1.5 hours. There is no charge for this tour, but they would be pleased of a donation towards the garden on the day.

Willersley Castle, Cromford, Matlock, DE4 5JH
Evening dinner at Willersley Castle. See enclosed for menu choice. Cost of a three-course meal is £18.95. A deposit on booking of £3.00 per head, remainder to be paid on the night. Please arrive at 7.15pm to eat for 7.30pm.

A walk around the grounds before dinner would be very interesting, with Rod Peach filling in the history as we go around, therefore you will be required to be in the reception for 6.15pm.

Saturday 12th : Haddon Hall, Bakewell, DE45 1LA
Haddon Hall, guided tour of house and garden. Tour guide TBC.

Tours take around one and a half hours and starts at 9.45am prompt, as they have a wedding coming in to certain areas at 11.00am. The car park is situated on the left hand side of the A6 and the Hall on the right. It is advised we meet in the car park for 9.15am.   Car park fee is £3.00 on the day. The walk from the car park to the hall will take 15 to 25 minutes. Cost for Hall and Garden tour is £18.50, to be paid when booking.

The Coffee shop/restaurant is run as a separate entity from the hall. After the tour this is a good place to have lunch. They do not take bookings.

On to Anita and Jeremy Butt’s garden (address to be confirmed) for 2:30pm. Anita is a retired Broomfield college lecturer and she will take us for a walk around their garden, with tea and cake available at £3.50 per person, to be paid on the day.

I will make a map available to go around the back roads from Haddon Hall to Anita and Jeremy’s as at this time of the year is very busy and you could be sat in a traffic jam for three quarters of an hour and possibly much more.

Evening buffet dinner at Rod and Jean Peach’s:
Derwent Treescapes, Deep Carr Lane, The Cliff, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3NQ
And walk around if you wish. Please arrive between 6 to 7pm. The cost for this will be £10.00 to be paid in advance. Please bring your own drinks.

Sunday 13th : Chatsworth House, arrival time – to be confirmed.
Chatsworth House, Bakewell, DE45 1PP.

Sunday morning visit to Chatsworth Garden for a guided walk, meet at (to be confirmed). Steve Porter the head gardener who was trained at Kew will be away this weekend, but Faya Tuffrey has very kindly offered to show us around. Lunch can be taken in the Carriage House Restaurant at your leisure and visit the house.

Chatsworth is very kindly showing us around the gardens at no expense to the members of the Kew Guild and their guests, however the House will be charged at the usual rates of £19.90pp, payable when on site. There is a charge for parking, amount to be confirmed.

Please download the Derbyshire weekend August 2017 Booking Form and return to Jean Peach.

The committee would like to thank Rod and Jean Peach for their continued support of Guild visits and we hope you can join us on what I am sure will be another successful event.

The Kew Guild Associate Membership

by Allan Hart

The Annual General Meeting of the Kew Guild 2005 ratified the recommendation of the Committee – to incorporate a new category of membership, that of ‘Associate’. This is in recognition of the support of wives, husbands and partners who have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the administration and activities of the Guild.

Associates do not pay a subscription as they are already covered by that paid by their partners. (Associate Members are not allowed to vote.) On the death of their partner the President will contact them to invite them to become full members at the current rate of subscription. The Guild would like to attract more Associates – simply contact the Membership Secretary


The Friends of Kew

THE FRIENDS OF KEW (by Allan Hart)

It had always been a bone of contention that all ex. students and gardening staff had to pay the full amount of the entrance fee – no concessions allowed. During my Presidential Year in 2012 I was able to negotiate with the (then) Director – Peter Crane – for a substantial reduction in the annual subscription.

The rate for 2017 is £35.00, which is approximately 30% of the full amount.

This is for two people and includes all privileges. All you need to do is obtain the application form and write on it ‘KEW GUILD MEMBER’. This information used to be sent out with the Members Certificates, which are no longer issued by the Guild.

Report of the Kew Guild Annual Dinner, 2017

by Richard Ward

The Annual Kew Guild Dinner was held on Thursday 25th May in Cambridge Cottage, Kew Green.

On one of the hottest days of the year nearly 60 Guild members and guests enjoyed free access to the Gardens during the day and at 18.50 precisely were summoned to the dining room by MC Richard Ward. Members and guests clapped President Allan Stuttard and his wife into the room and Rev. Hugh Flower said Grace. After the meal Stewart Henchie, ebullient as ever, proposed the toast to ‘The President’, to which Allan responded, reminisced, entertained us all, and gave a toast to ‘The Kew Guild’ and ‘Our guests.’ Kew’s Director of Horticulture Richard Barley responded on behalf of the guests. Diploma student Kathryn Bray gave the toast ‘To Absent Friends.’

President Allan presented the Kew Guild medal to Landscape Designer Chris Beardshaw who voiced his appreciation. The George Brown scroll ‘For furthering diplomacy in the true spirit of the Kew Guild’ was presented to Nicholas Boyes who was equally grateful.

Past Presidents of the Guild were stood and were recognised. Similarly Overseas visitors – being Val and Jim Mitchell from Australia, Pamela and Brian Dodds and Ian Lamont Smith from Canada.

5 Diploma students attended the Dinner. Di Stuttard kindly drew the raffle tickets and their raffle raised £280 for student funds.

Allan thanked outgoing Dinner organiser Jennifer Alsop, MC Richard Ward, and Editor Sparkle Ward for their input to the evening; and presented gifts of wine and flowers in appreciation.

Further details of the evening will be published in the Events of 2017 Journal, together with selected photos.

Prizegiving Speech (2015) – Richard Bisgrove

Precis from a fantastic prize-giving speech in 2015 by Richard Bisgrove – Ed.

I have been to several Prize Days at Kew and listened to several eminent guest speakers so it is a great privilege to be standing here today, especially as the guest speaker is chosen by those students who are about the graduate. This means that the students probably enjoyed my lectures but I wonder if they are also putting me on the spot. Because I live north of Reading our modus operandi is that I battle along the M4, we switch on the projector at 9am and I ramble on for six hours – with coffee breaks – then head off back on the M4 before the rush hour traffic is too bad. I suspect that Course 50 want to see how I cope with less than an hour to speak, and with no projector!

This afternoon I would like to tell you something about three people. The first is me. I lectured at Reading, in Horticulture and Landscape Management, for forty years and two weeks. In the last five years of my Reading career I was given Honorary Life Membership of the Kew Guild, the Veitch Memorial Medal by the Royal Horticultural Society and the Peter Youngman Award by the President of the Landscape Institute. In my first five years that triple honour would have been impossible: the botanical, horticultural and landscape architectural professions had almost watertight boundaries and many opportunities were lost as a result of inter-professional rivalry, sometimes amounting to enmity. Gradually the botanists have realised that nature conservation and habitat restoration involve what is in essence sophisticated gardening. Only this morning I heard on the radio of micropropagation and pelleting of sphagnum moss in attempts to restore peat bogs.

Landscape designers have slowly come to recognise that grand plans are useless without sophisticated gardening to see those plans evolve to fruition. In 1978 the Institute of Landscape Architects became the Landscape Institute and widened its membership to include landscape managers and landscape scientists. It is no coincidence that by far the most successful Landscape Architecture Department in Britain is at Sheffield, headed by their Professor of Horticultural Ecology, James Hitchmough, who was your guest speaker last year. The Kew Diploma can be a painful experience as it involves such a wide range of subject material, from DNA sequences through practical horticulture to landscape design and management but the graduates from the Diploma course are ideally qualified for the new environment of inter-professional collaboration.


The second person is one of our former students at Reading. I’ll call him Smith. Young Smith was a bright and hard-working student so it was no surprise when he gained a first class honours degree in Horticulture. He stayed on at Reading for his PhD and, in a department with research interests in organic horticulture, in synthetic soils and other aspects of sustainable horticulture, gained his PhD with his thesis, ‘A study of the effects of protein-based fertilizers on the growth and development of vegetable crops’. In the course of his research Smith adapted a dot matrix printer (then new technology) to produce very large numbers of very small samples of liquids for analysis. Doctor Smith then went to the Water Pollution Research Laboratory near Stevenage, where he built up a substantial research team. He was then appointed Professor of Environmental Management at Imperial College in London where he has developed multi-million pound contracts in Egypt, Australia and elsewhere in waste management and energy capture from waste materials.

I was invited to hear Professor Smith’s inaugural lecture. The Dean of his department stood up to introduce him and started by saying that Professor Smith’s career started in Horticulture – and he actually sniggered as he said the word, with knowing chuckles from his senior colleagues. Professor Smith then stood up to deliver his lecture and started by saying that he thought Horticulture was the best possible start for a career in environmental management as no other subject brought together so many aspects of science and technology.

My third person is John Claudius Loudon, a Scotsman who came down to England to teach the English how to farm and garden properly. Loudon was the first documented workaholic, going one night a week without sleep in order to study languages and suffering the loss of an arm and other painful experiences while working himself into an early grave. He died in 1843 with typically Victorian melodrama, dictating the last chapter of his book on the self-improvement of young gardeners to his young wife. Loudon preached that young gardeners should be tidily dressed and well-spoken at all times and should devote themselves to study. In return he thought that employers should respect their gardeners and foster their career development. He bewailed the fact that gardeners, often the most highly educated and literate of the army of servants, were so little appreciated and so poorly paid.

I would like to end by congratulating the students of Course 50, and the apprentices now completing their apprenticeship, for their achievements and to wish them well in their careers. They may be sniggered at from time to time as ‘mere gardeners’, they will almost certainly not be paid as much as they deserve, but they will probably save our planet.

Kewite-mail, May 2017

Dear Kewites and Friends,

I just cannot believe that it is almost five months since I sent everyone copies of the Christmas newsletter, as I have said before, “Where does the time go?”

The Guild Committee has met a further two times since Christmas and along with a number of day to day issues to keep us occupied, our most important piece of work has been the submission to the Charity Commission of our application to become a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO). These arrangements, aimed at the Kew Guild being able to meet the present legal requirements of the Charity Commission, were agreed as long ago as the AGM in September 2015. They have been an ongoing issue for the subsequent Presidents and particularly Bob Ivison, who has been the lead committee member on this issue. Earlier in the year the submission was finally made and then a response was received from the Charity Commission that was far from positive, which left your committee in doubt as to whether they were going to be able to take this matter forward.

Given this, at the February meeting of the Trustees it was decided that to take this matter forward, we needed help from specialist solicitors who were experienced in dealing with the setting up of trusts and the creation of their constitutions. This proved to be an inspired decision and I am glad to be able to report that our response to the Charity Commission’s queries, which was put together with the aid of the solicitors, has been very favourably received. The Charity Commission has indicated that with some minor changes to wording in our submission, they would be happy to accept the Kew Guild’s application for CIO status. A report on these matters will now be placed before the Trustees at their meeting on the 1st June 2017 and it is expected that we will then be in a position to finalise our application and agree it with the Charity Commission. It will be almost two years since the matter was first discussed at an AGM and I must offer my thanks to the past Presidents and again, Bob Ivison for all the sterling work that they have put into this project to bring it to fruition.

This year’s Kew Guild’s programme of events is now well under way with two of the visits already having been undertaken. In February we visited Bennington Lordship Gardens, near Stevenage, for our annual “Snowdrop” start to the year. Well over twenty members braved a cold, but dry day and enjoyed a landscape of superb snowdrops of all sizes. Many of us were taken by the flower sizes of some of the newer hybrids and one that really caught the eye was Galanthus Sarah Arnott, an absolute star! In true Guild style the cold late morning visit was combatted by a visit to a local hostelry for lunch and the pleasure of sitting by a blazing fire.

In April we visited Guernsey, on a trip that came about when Raymond Evison received the Honorary Fellowship of the Kew Guild at last year’s Guild Dinner. Raymond kindly offered to host a trip to Guernsey in 2017 to visit his Clematis nurseries and local private gardens – an offer that I wasn’t going to miss out on. I worked with Raymond on putting together a four day visit and I must say as we planned the visit I wasn’t sure what the take up of the package would be like and initially we planned only 15 places. I needn’t have worried, the Guild members were just as excited about the proposals as I was and within 24 hours we had reached our maximum number for the visit of 24.

The visit itself was a great success and we visited a number of superb private gardens along with an eye opening tour of Raymond’s Clematis nursery, where we toured the whole of his production side, where plants were being grown for the European and American market. We were also very lucky to see the “secret” side of his business, where we were allowed to inspect the new Clematis cultivars for 2017 which are planned to be released at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show. The Clematis fans amongst us Guild members are really in for a treat this year, but I can’t tell you any more, as we were “sworn to secrecy!!”

The real success of the event was the weather, as we had four days of beautiful clear weather without a cloud in the sky. I was so impressed with Raymond’s links to the weather Gods, as I was told that the previous week had seen Guernsey blanketed in fog. I was amazed how much “earlier” Guernsey was to mainland Britain and when promised banks of flowering Bluebells, I was to say the least, a little sceptical. But there they were, along hedgerow banks stuffed with early wild flowers and in one garden a magnificent Paulownia tomentosa, in full flower.

As I am writing this newsletter Di and I am preparing ourselves for this weekend’s Guild trip to Compton Acres in Dorset and Exbury in Hampshire. This great visit has again been fully booked and I am especially looking forward to enjoying two of my interests at Exbury, one the family, Rhododendron and two, a ride behind their famous steam miniature railway. What better way to enjoy a visit to Exbury for an ageing gardener / steam buff, than to travel the over one mile track around the gardens watching Rhododendrons and Azaleas pass me by, whilst taking in the intoxicating aroma of smoke and steam.

If you haven’t been to a visit this year, there is still a chance for you as there are a further two trips planned in June and August when we visit Devon and Chatsworth respectively. But don’t delay, as on this years’ experience they are filling up fast – check the Guild website for details as they become available. I look forward to welcoming the stalwarts of the Guild’s visit along with those who have yet to try these very friendly and relaxed visits to superb gardens

– try us, it is a lot of fun!

Plans are now well underway for this year’s Guild Dinner in the Cambridge Cottage, Kew Green, on the 25th May and we have again managed to arrange free entry to the garden for all those that are attending the dinner. The guest speaker at this year’s dinner will be Richard Barley, the ‎Director of Horticulture, Learning and Operations at Kew who, I am sure, will give Guild members attending the dinner, an up to date insight into the future management and development of the gardens. We will also be presenting Chris Beardshaw, of Chelsea Flower Show and Gardener’s World fame, with the Kew Guild Gold Medal. I look forward to this special evening in the Kew Guild calendar.

Finally, thank you for reading this newsletter which outlines the work of the Kew Guild and more importantly, I hope, reminds all the readers that there is much pleasure to be found in being an active member and enjoying some of the activities of this special organisation. I look forward to meeting up with many of you at one of the remaining visits this year or at the AGM on the 9th September.

With kindest regards,


Alan Stuttard, President of the Kew Guild

Hugh Fraser Macmillan (1869-1948)


Student gardener at Kew 1893–95. Curator, Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Ceylon, 1895–1925. Horticultural and Agricultural Advisor, Abadan, Persia, 1926–27.

b. Baenlick, Glen Urquhart, Inverness, Scotland, 4 June 1869; d. Ealing, Middlesex, England, 19 November 1948

Hugh Macmillan was born on 4 June 1869 and had his early horticultural training at Dochfour Castle. He then moved to Wales where he worked under Andrew Pettigrew at Cardiff Castle. Around 1893 he went to Kew as a student gardener and gained experience in several departments. He left Kew in June 1895 to become Curator of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Peradeniya, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), a position that he held until 1912 when he appointed superintendent of all gardens in Ceylon.  Throughout his time in that country he contributed greatly to improving horticultural practices that were relevant to the whole region.

In 1910 he published Handbook of Tropical Gardening and Planting with Special Reference to Ceylon. It became a standard text, so successful that it went to a 5th edition by 1962. He also contributed articles to the Journal of Tropical Agriculture and to local newspapers. On retirement from this position in 1926 he moved to Persia (now Iran) and became Horticultural and Agricultural Advisor to the Anglo-Persian Oil Company based at Abadan.

Around 1928 Macmillan returned to Britain, settling at first in Ickenham, later moving to Ealing. He had joined The Kew Guild in 1895 and remained a member for almost 40 years. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society from about 1920. In 1943 he was made an Associate of Honour of the Royal Horticultural Society.


Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis & The Natural History Museum, London, p. 458–9.

Parsons, T.H. (1949), Obituary, H.F. Macmillan, A.H.R.H.S, F.L.S., Journal of The Kew Guild 6: 697.

Archives and History page

Check out or new Archives and History page – Archives and History. We would like to thank our new Archivist, Astrid Purton, for her hard work so far…




This compilation was suggested by Jim Mitchell, President of the Guild in 2012–13, and adopted by the Trustees as an ongoing project in 2015.


To demonstrate Kew’s contributions to world horticulture in economic development, establishing botanic gardens and parks (both public and private), enhancing urban communities, provision of memorials, conservation and the media.  This will take the form of potted biographies of Kewites, placed on a dedicated page on the Guild’s website.


For the purposes of this project, a Kewite is a person who has spent at least three months working, studying or volunteering at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (including Wakehurst Place), and its predecessor The Royal Gardens at Kew.


The scope is large but we hope that by steady additions it will become a significant resource showing the influence of Kew on horticulture and botany around the world. The accounts given here are concise; they are not intended as full biographies. In many instances the sources cited give further details, as well as other references. For the present, the fifty Kewites covered in Desmond and Hepper’s book will not be repeated here, since the biographies there are similar in scope.

The Kew Guild will welcome additions and corrections. These should be directed to Jonathan Rickards ( or Alex George (

Major sources on Kew

Bean, W.J. (1908), The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew: Historical and Descriptive, Cassell and Co., London.

Blunt, W. (1978), In for a Penny: A Prospect of Kew Gardens: their Flora, Fauna and Falballas, Hamish Hamilton in association with The Tryon Gallery, London.

Desmond, R. (1995), Kew: The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Harvill Press, London, with The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; paperback edition 1998.

Desmond, R. & Hepper, F.N. (1993), A Century of Kew Plantsmen A Celebration of The Kew Guild, The Kew Guild, Richmond.

Turrill, W.B. (1959), The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew Past and Present, Herbert Jenkins, London.

The Journal of The Kew Guild (1893– present).

Henry Harold Welch Pearson (1870-1916)

Assistant at Kew, 1899–1903. Foundation Professor of Botany, South African College, Cape Town, 1903–16. Instrumental in foundation of Kirstenbosch Botanic Gardens, 1913. Collected widely in southern Africa. Studied Gnetales, especially Welwitschia and Gnetum.

b. Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, England, 28 Jan. 1870; d. Wynberg, Cape Town, South Africa, 3 Nov. 1916

Harold Pearson was born at Long Sutton, Lincolnshire, on 28 January 1870. After private schooling he worked as a chemist’s assistant and taught at Eastbourne, before gaining a Clothworkers’ and Leathersellers’ Exhibition that took him to Cambridge University in 1893. He was a Foundation Scholar of Christ’s College in 1896, Darwin Prizeman, and Frank Smart Student of Botany at Gonville and Gaius College in 1898. He gained a First Class in both parts of the Natural Sciences Tripos, then a BA in 1896 and an MA in 1900. A Worts’ Travelling Scholarship took him to Ceylon in 1897 where he studied high-altitude grasslands (Patanas), receiving the Walsingham Medal from Cambridge for this work. In 1898, he became assistant curator of the Cambridge herbarium.

Pearson was appointed to Kew from 1899 to 1903, first as Assistant for India, then as Assistant to the Director (W. Thistleton-Dyer). His interest in taxonomy expanded and during this time he contributed the family Verbenaceae to the Flora Capensis.

From Kew he moved to Cape Town in 1903 as Foundation Professor of Botany (established by Harry Bolus) at South African College. The first task was to plan a science block for the new department. Driven initially by a desire to study Welwitschia in the wild, he conducted extensive field work, especially in Namaqualand. His research on this plant (for which he received his doctorate in 1907) and the related genus Gnetum led to a new classification of the order Gnetales, not quite completed before his death but edited by A.C. Seward and published in 1929. His first expedition, in 1904, was cut short by an outbreak of war between the Germans and Hereros! He published an account of an expedition of 1907 in Kew Bulletin 1907: 339–360.

Pearson became the first editor of the Annals of the Bolus Herbarium, founded in 1914. A photograph of the staff of the herbarium appears in Gunn and Codd (1981) p. 96. He had a strong interest in economic botany, especially plants useful for fodder and cultivation. His efforts promoting the need for a botanic garden at the Cape came to fruition in 1913 with the establishment of the Botanic Garden at Kirstenbosch. Appointed an honorary director, he was involved in planning and laying out the garden.

Harold Pearson was a member of The Kew Guild. He was a Fellow of the Linnean Society and of the Royal Society of South Africa, and in 1916 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. His early death from acute pneumonia followed a minor operation. He was married but had no children.

Pearson discovered a number of new plants. He is commemorated in the legume genus Pearsonia and in the names of four species. The Harold Pearson Chair of Botany was created at Cape Town University, to be occupied by the Director of the National Botanic Gardens.


Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis & The Natural History Museum, London, p. 542.

Gunn, M. & Codd, L.E. (1981), Botanical Exploration of Southern Africa …, A.A.Balkema, Cape Town.

Henry Harold Welch Pearson, Dedication in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine vol. CXL, pp 346–348, 1914.

M.S. [Matilda Smith?] (1916), In Memoriam, Henry Harold Welch Pearson, Journal of the Kew Guild. 3 (XXIII): 377–378.