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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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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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Morris Birkbeck (1764–1825) by unknown engraver, pubd 1825 Special Collections and Archives, Knox College Library, Galesburg, Illinois

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Birkbeck, Morris (1764–1825), farmer and writer, was born on 23 January 1764 in Settle, Yorkshire, the only child of Morris Birkbeck (1734–1816), Quaker minister, and his wife, Hannah, née Bradford, of Lancaster, who died a few days after his birth. On 23 April in 1794 he married ...

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Alan Herbert Vauser Bloom (1906–2005) by Tessa Traeger, 2000 © Tessa Traeger / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bloom, Alan Herbert Vauser (1906–2005), horticulturist, was born on 19 November 1906 in Over, near Swavesey, Cambridgeshire, the son of Charles Herbert Bloom, grocer and draper, and later market gardener, and his wife, Katherine Annie Jane, née Whitworth. His father's family is thought to have been descended from Huguenots who had come to ...

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Dickinson, Samuel (1690–1760), planter and jurist in America, was born on 9 March 1690 at Croisadore plantation, Talbot county, on the eastern shore of Maryland, the third and only surviving child of William Dickinson (1658–1717), planter, and his wife, Elizabeth Powell. His father, the son of an immigrant from ...

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Doubleday, Henry (1810–1902), starch manufacturer and horticulturist, was born on 24 October 1810 at Coggeshall, Essex, the fourth of eight children of William Doubleday (1777–1854) and his wife, Hannah Corder (1779–1819). His parents, staunch Quakers, were shopkeepers. A number of their ancestors had sailed with ...

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Estaugh [née Haddon], Elizabeth (1680–1762), Quaker leader and colonial landowner, was born on 5 July 1680 in Bermondsey, Surrey, the second daughter and third child of John Haddon (1654–1724) and his wife, Elizabeth, née Clarke (1651?–1724). John Haddon was a convinced Quaker and twice had been fined for voicing his religious views. Like other Quakers he was persuaded by ...

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Ffennell, William Joshua (1799–1867), fisheries inspector, was born on 16 August 1799 at Ballybrado, Waterford, Ireland, the eldest son and second of sixteen children of Joshua William and Elizabeth Ffennell. The family's much resented exclusion from the Society of Friends through his father's liberal '...

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Fowler, John (1826–1864), agricultural engineer, was born on 11 July 1826 at Melksham, Wiltshire, one of at least four sons of John Fowler (1792–1861), merchant, and Rebecca (1799–1842), daughter of William and Jenny Hull of Uxbridge, Middlesex; his younger brother William Fowler achieved prominence as a financier and politician. His father was a leading member of the Quakers in ...

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Hall, Samuel [called the Sherwood Forest Patriarch] (1769–1852), agriculturist, was born on 9 April 1769 in Forest Lane, Sutton in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, the second son of Samuel Hall and his wife, Dorothy Wilcock. He was apprenticed to Timothy Broadhurst, a cousin in the cobbling trade in ...

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Hanbury, Sir Thomas (1832–1907), merchant and gardener, was born at Bedford Road, Clapham, Surrey, on 21 June 1832, the third of five surviving sons and one daughter of Daniel Bell Hanbury (1794–1882), pharmaceutical chemist, and his wife, Rachel, née Christy (1802/3–1876). Daniel Hanbury (1825–1875)...

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Harkness, Robert Beagarie (1951–2012), rose breeder, was born on 29 June 1951 at Hitchin Hospital, the second of three children and elder son of John Leigh (Jack) Harkness (1918–1994), rose breeder, and his wife, Betty Catherine, née Moore. At the time of his birth registration the family lived at ...