John Lindley (1799-1865)

Lindley’s  herbarium, like those of many taxonomic botanists, was built up as a research tool over his extremely active working life. Given his long-term financial difficulties, poor health and rapidly failing memory, Lindley and his family sought to realise the value of his library and plant collections when it became obvious he was no longer able to work with them. Sadly he died before they could all be sold. They raised £1,400 for his creditors. Kew bought his orchids whilst the bulk of his herbarium, 58,000 sheets, was purchased for £300 by Cambridge University in 1866.

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Lindley’s collection is rich in type specimens and representative specimens he published (especially in the Botanical Register). His herbarium also contains many important duplicate types of specimens destroyed in Berlin during the 1939-45 war. The collection has been partly incorporated into the main herbarium and the move to our new building with its more accessible shelving will facilitate the completion of that task. Access to this historically and scientifically important resource has in the past been limited but work has now started on digitisation of the collection which will take it to a wider community.