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British Empire Collection

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Cochineal beetle harvest, by Eadweard Muybridge

Cochineal beetle harvest, by Eadweard Muybridge
Dactylopius coccus, cochineal beetles being harvested from Opuntia cacti, Antigua, West Indies, for the production of carminic acid used in the carmine dye, cochineal

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Seedlings of Cinchona succirubra, India, 1861

Seedlings of Cinchona succirubra, India, 1861
Seedlings of Cinchona succirubra, photographed on arrival in Ootacamund, southern India, 9 April 1861. Collected by Richard Spruce in Ecuador, the plants were received by WIlliam McIvor

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Henry Ridley and rubber tree, Singapore

Henry Ridley and rubber tree, Singapore
Extension of original cutting on an old Para rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis - Henry Ridley ( Rubber Ridley ) and rubber tree, tapped for latex

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Richard Spruce

Richard Spruce (1817-1893) botanist and plant collector who was commissioned by William Hooker to transfer the cinchona (quinine) industry from South America to India

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Richard Spruce

Richard Spruce (1817-1893) botanist, explorer, plant collector

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Lalbagh Botanic Gardens, Bangalore, India

Lalbagh Botanic Gardens, Bangalore, India were established in 1760 by Hyder Ali. Once they came under state control in 1856

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Japanese hemp production circa 1910

Japanese hemp production circa 1910. This image came to Kew from the Japan-British exhibition of 1910, which was held to encourage Japanese-British relations

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Drying coffee in the Straits Settlements, Southeast Asia, 1899

Drying coffee in the Straits Settlements, Southeast Asia, 1899
Workers drying coffee in the Straits Settlements, Southeast Asia, 1899. Once harvested, the coffee " cherries" were sorted

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Preparing cinnamon quills for drying, Sri lanka, 1880 s

Preparing cinnamon quills for drying, Sri lanka, 1880 s
Preparing cinnamon quills for drying, Sri Lanka, 1880 s. Once the inner bark has been cleaned, the quills are placed one inside another to form quills 1metre long, which are then dried on racks

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Coffee harvest at Batu Cave Estate, Singapore, 1899

Coffee harvest at Batu Cave Estate, Singapore, 1899

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Men laden with Brick tea for Tibet, 1908

Men laden with Brick tea for Tibet, 1908
Tachienlu (now Kanding), West Sichuan, China : Men laden with Brick tea for Tibet. One mans load weighs 317 lbs, the others 298 lbs

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Harvesting tea leaves, India

Harvesting tea leaves, India
Harvesting tea leaves, often known as plucking, India. The leaves need to be picked selectively to maintain the quality of the tea and could not be held in the hand long

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Cultivation of Cinchona succirubra trees on the Madulsima Cinchona Cos estate

Cultivation of Cinchona succirubra trees on the Madulsima Cinchona Cos estate, Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1882. The plants pictured are 8 -10 years old

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: C W Anderson with Cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis photographed at the Botanical Gardens

C W Anderson with Cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis photographed at the Botanical Gardens, Georgetown
C W Anderson with Cannonball tree, Couroupita guianensis, photographed at the Botanical Gardens, Georgetown, Guyana (then British Guiana), early 20th century

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Ringing the work bell, India circa 1910

Ringing the work bell, India circa 1910
Bell tolled to summon staff to work, Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose Indian Botanic Garden, Kolkata, India, circa 1910. The bell is being rung by a Nepali durwan (doorman)

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: House of Walter Haydon, curator of the botanic station at Kotu in Gambia

House of Walter Haydon, curator of the botanic station at Kotu in Gambia
House of Walter Haydon, appointed curator of the botanic station at Kotu in Gambia in 1894. The house was built for him on site so that he could always command a view of all the ground under

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Preparing cinnamon, Sri Lanka, 1880 s

Preparing cinnamon, Sri Lanka, 1880 s. The cinnamon is contained in the inner bark of the tree. Once the shoots have been harvested the outer bark is peeled off by rubbing with a brass rod or blunt

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Drying or withering tea leaves

Drying or withering tea leaves
Drying out the tea leaves, known as withering. Approx. 80% of moisture needs to be removed from freshly picked leaves to preserve them and enhance the teas flavour

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Packing tea in India

Packing tea in India for export to the west

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Bringing in the plucked tea leaves in India

Bringing in the plucked tea leaves in India. Workers with baskets of tea leaves ready to be processed for export

Background imageBritish Empire Collection: Tea plantation, Far East

Tea plantation, Far East
Terraces of a tea plantation in the Far East, showing Camellia sinensis var sinensis, used to produce Chinese and green tea. Women harvest the tea leaves, a process known as " plucking"



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