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Backhouse family (per. c. 1770–1945), naturalists and horticulturists, came to prominence with James [i] Backhouse (1721–1798), who founded the Backhouse Bank in Darlington, co. Durham, in 1774 with his sons Jonathan (1747–1826) and James [ii] (1757–1804). It was Jonathan Backhouse who initiated the family's connection with horticulture, by following the mid-eighteenth-century fashion for large-scale tree planting on his estates at ...

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Robert Ormston Backhouse 1854–1940 by Vivian Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Backhouse family

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Biffen, Sir Rowland Harry (1874–1949), geneticist and agricultural botanist, was born on 28 May 1874 at Cheltenham, the eldest of the family of two boys and three girls of Henry John Biffen, headmaster of the Christ Church higher grade school at Cheltenham, and his wife, ...

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John Westby-Gibson

revised by Alexander Goldbloom

Briggs, John Joseph (1819–1876), naturalist and writer on country life, was born on 6 March 1819 at King's Newton, near Melbourne, Derbyshire, the son of John Briggs, farmer, and his wife, Mary Briggs. His parents were cousins, and they lived on the farm at ...

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Buckland, Francis Trevelyan (1826–1880), pisciculturist and naturalist, was born at Christ Church, Oxford, on 17 December 1826, the son of William Buckland (1784–1856), canon of Christ Church, and his wife, Mary Buckland (1797–1857), daughter of Benjamin Morland of Abingdon, Berkshire. He was baptized on 28 June 1827, in the college....

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Buckman, James (1814–1884), naturalist and agriculturist, was born on 20 November 1814 in Cheltenham, a son of John Buckman (1767–1851), shoemaker and cordwainer, and his wife, Mary Bishop (b. 1777). He was first articled to Stephen H. Murley, a Cheltenham surgeon-apothecary, who inculcated in him an interest in science. From about 1835 ...

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Clare, John (1793–1864), poet, farm labourer, and naturalist, was born on 13 July 1793 in West Street, Helpston, Northamptonshire, the son of Parker Clare (1765–1846), a thresher and local wrestler, known as 'the lame man of Helpstone', and his wife, Ann (1757–1835)...

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John Clare (1793–1864) by William Hilton, 1820 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Courten [alias Charleton], William (1642–1702), naturalist and collector, was born in London on 28 March 1642, the son of William Courten, who died insolvent at Florence in 1655, and Lady Katherine Egerton, daughter of John Egerton, first earl of Bridgewater. Sir William Courten (c. 1568–1636)...

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Eyton, Thomas Campbell (1809–1880), naturalist and agriculturist, was born at Eyton Hall, Wellington, Shropshire, on 10 September 1809, the son of Thomas Eyton (1777–1855), recorder of Wenlock, and later high sheriff of Shropshire, and his wife, Elizabeth (c.1780–1817), daughter of Major-General Donald Campbell...

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Harland, Sydney Cross (1891–1982), agricultural botanist and geneticist, was born on 19 June 1891 at Snainton, near Scarborough, the son of Erasmus Harland and his wife, Eliza. He was educated at the municipal secondary school in Scarborough and at King's College, London, where he graduated in 1912 with honours in geology. He then took a job as a schoolmaster in the Danish colony of ...

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Hutchinson, Sir Joseph Burtt (1902–1988), geneticist and agriculturist, was born on 21 March 1902 in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, the eldest of the three sons (there were no daughters) of Edmund Hutchinson, who farmed at Cransley Grange, near Kettering, and his wife, Lydia Mary Davy...

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Massingham, (Harold) John (1888–1952), rural writer, was born in London on 25 March 1888, the eldest of the six children of the radical Liberal journalist Henry William Massingham (1860–1924) and his first wife, Emma Jane Snowdon (d. 1905). John Massingham won an exhibition from ...

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A. F. Pollard

revised by Alexander Goldbloom

Parfitt, Edward (1820–1893), gardener and natural historian, born at East Tuddenham, Norfolk, on 17 October 1820, was the son of Edward Parfitt (1800–1875), head gardener to Lord Hastings, and his wife, Violet Howlet (1800–1836). He was educated at East Tuddenham and Honingham, and studied gardening under his father. He worked for some years as a gardener to ...

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Sloane, Sir Hans, baronet (1660–1753), physician and collector, was born at Killyleagh, co. Down, on 16 April 1660, the seventh son of Alexander Sloane (d. 1666). His father, a protestant, was by profession agent for James Hamilton, second Viscount Claneboye and later earl of Clanbrassill...

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Sir Hans Sloane, baronet (1660–1753) by Stephen Slaughter, 1736 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Spedding, Sir Colin Raymond William (1925–2012), biologist and agricultural scientist, was born on 22 March 1925 at 54 Alport Road, Cannock, Staffordshire, the younger son and second of three children of Robert Kewley Spedding (1890–1961), Primitive Methodist minister, and his wife, Ilynn, née...