William Bean (1863-1947)
A fourth generation nurseryman, William Jackson Bean entered Kew
as a student at 20, and 40 years later became Curator (1922-1929).
Under William Thiselton-Dyer’s Directorship, Bean was responsible
for replacing many old or common trees and shrubs in the
Arboretum. They were removed and replaced with a more representative
selection of species, grouped systematically. This arrangement
greatly assisted study and comparison, not least by Bean himself.
His evening pursuit for 25 years was the writing of a two
volume magnum opus Trees and Shrubs Hardy in the British Isles (1914)
which established him as a world authority. A third volume
was inspired by the large number of exotics raised from material
gathered after the Great War of 1914-18 by collectors such
as Ernest Wilson.
By the 1960s revised classification and reader requirements
had left his opus out of date. However it was considered
so valuable to horticulture that a team of four respected
arboriculturalists, including Harold Hillier, spent more than two
years painstakingly revising it. Thanks to their efforts the eighth
edition is still used by professionals the world over.
Cytisus x beanii is named in his honour.
Commander, Royal Victorian Order
Imperial Service Order
Victoria Medal of Honour 1917
Veitch Memorial Medal 1922
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