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Kew at Work Gallery

Choose from 341 images in our Kew at Work collection.


Robert Fortune Featured Kew at Work Image

Robert Fortune

Robert Fortune (1812-1880) born in Berwickshire, Scotland, was a botanist and plant-hunter best known for smuggling tea plants out of China at the behest of the East India Company. Following the Treaty of Nanjing in 1842, Fortune was awarded the position of the Society's Collector in China, visiting the region on four occasions, remaining there for two or three years each time. In 1846, he published his journals as Three Years Wanderings in the Northern Provinces of China'. In 1848, he was tasked by the East India Company with collecting tea plants to establish plantations in India, breaking the Chinese monopoly. Disguising himself as a Chinese merchant, he travelled to the remote Fujian, Guangdong, and Jiangsu provinces, regions rarely explored by Westerners, beyond the permissible day's journey from the agreed European treaty ports. The ruling Chinese government had outlawed the purchase of tea plants, but Fortune was able to coordinate the shipment of more than 20, 000 plants and seedlings, in Wardian cases, to the Himalayas, effectively initiating the tea industry in India

© RBG KEW

John Wilfred Sutch Featured Kew at Work Image

John Wilfred Sutch

John Wilfred Sutch, born 8 November 1923, worked as a gardener in the T-Range, Palm House and Arboretum. At the age of 18 he left Kew to join the army, joining the 1st Northants Yeomanry as a tank driver. He served in Normandy in the summer of 1944 and was killed during the battle for Falaise Gap. The Journal of the Kew Guild described him as knowledgable, conscientious and as displaying considerable promise

© RBG KEW

William Dallimore Featured Kew at Work Image

William Dallimore

William Dallimore (1871-1959), known to his colleagues as "good old Dallimore" was a well-liked and long serving member of staff at RBG Kew for more than 45 years. He joined Kew as a student gardener in 1891, aged 20, and worked in the Palm House, the tropical Propagating Pits and the Arboretum, of which he became foreman (now termed curator) in 1901. This undated photograph shows him as a young man, possibly in his student days, carrying tree-pruning equipment. He later became Keeper of the Museums, established the Wood Museum and supervised the development of the National Pinetum at Bedgebury. He was regarded as one of the leading authorities on trees and shrubs in the UK

© RBG KEW