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Book of the month - The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs

This book tells the fascinating story of Kew Gardens through over two hundred and fifty black and white photographs, many of which have never been seen before.
Women having a tea break, archival picture from The Story of Kew in Pictures
Women workers at Kew Gardens during the second world war made a special appeal to the Director to be allowed a tea break.

A collection of rather special photographs

The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs explores Kew’s history from the era of the great Victorian plant hunters and the heyday of the British Empire, to the austere years between the wars, and on into the post-war period when the Gardens’ iconic buildings and plant collections were restored to their former glory, under the directorship of Sir Edward Salisbury and his successors.

These fascinating photographs, many of them previously unseen, describe the botanical, social, cultural, political and technological developments of the past two centuries and highlight the pivotal role that plants have played in British life.

The story ends in the early 1970s, just before the advent of the widespread use of colour photography, giving this book a truly nostalgic feel.

A historical view behind the scenes

Also included are images of Kew behind the scenes, revealing what life was like for staff and students in the organisation - from work in the laboratory and tropical nursery, to the social side of life in the Gardens, including wonderful images of Kew staff enjoying a game of tennis.

The book also provides an interesting insight into the way photography has changed over the years as advances in technology have become more readily available to the masses.

About the authors

Kiri Ross-Jones is Kew’s Archivist and Records Manager. She has managed Kew’s Archives for the last six years, prior to which she worked in the archives of the V&A and the National Maritime Museum.

Lynn Parker has been Assistant Curator of Art and Artefacts at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew for the past five years. She previously worked in Collections Management at the V&A, and with anthropological and photographic collections at the Pitt Rivers Museum.

Buy the book today

The Story of Kew Gardens in Photographs by Kiri Ross-Jones and Lynn Parker

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