The flowering of Kew
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The Jodrell Laboratory
In 1872, Kew's Director Sir Joseph Hooker,
admitted to the Royal Commission on Scientific Instruction that few facilities
for experimental research existed at Kew. The commission later recommended that,
"...it is highly desirable that opportunities for the pursuit of investigations
in Physiological Botany should be afforded at Kew to those persons who may be
inclined to follow that branch of science."
Shortly after, Thomas Jodrell
Phillips-Jodrell, a benefactor in the field of biological research, offered the
funds to build and equip such a laboratory, providing Kew had a permanent home
for its Herbarium and Library. This laboratory, Hooker told the Office of Works,
would enable Kew to investigate "the effects of blights, insect ravages and
disease of plants".
The original laboratory, a small brick building,
was sited in the Melon Yard in 1877, conveniently near the resources of the Herbaceous
Grounds and the propagating houses. Professor John Tyndall moved in, even before
its completion, to continue his studies on the 'organisms of putrefaction' in
the relatively pure air of Kew. The building eventually proved far too small for
the ever-growing research needs and was demolished in 1963.
A larger Jodrell
Laboratory was opened in 1965 to support the burgeoning community of scientists
and to expand Kew's research base. A more substantial building, on two floors
with a lecture theatre, it was designed by C. G. Pinfold of the Ministry of Public
Building and Works. A 1993 extension trebled the amount of laboratory and research
accommodation and brought all Kew's various biochemistry units under one roof.
plant anatomy, cytogenetics and other laboratory-based research is carried out
in the Jodrell Laboratory. Located between the Alpine House and the Order Beds,
it is not open to the public, but it is possible to see the laboratory in action
from the colonnade.
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