The 'Harcourt Scholars' - a family story
Hidden away in the depths of Kew's archives is an application letter from a young man named Fredrick Harcourt, dated July 1911. The letter requests a position as a trainee gardener at Kew. One hundred years on, his daughter is supporting two new Horticulture Apprentices.
16 Mar 2011
Fredrick Harcourt (left) displaying tropical fruit to King George VI (right) and Queen Elizabeth (centre). Image copyright: The Central Press Photos Ltd.
Back in time...
After many successful years at Kew, Fredrick Harcourt was destined to travel to tropical destinations across the world to manage botanical plantations, and later became the Governor for Agriculture in Dominica.
He received an OBE for his work. Around a century later, his daughter has traced her father's footsteps back to Kew, in order to provide the same opportunity for today’s Horticulture Apprentices in the hope that they might benefit from the knowledge that her father gained and which enabled his very successful career.
Mr Harcourt’s daughter has generously supported two young Kew Horticulture Apprentices over their three years of training, who are now known as the ‘Harcourt Scholars’ in her father’s honour. Her hope is that the apprentices will achieve equally distinguished careers.
Introducing the 'Harcourt Scholars'
The two horticulture apprentices, Kirsty and Alex, who were selected to become the Harcourt Scholars, were not only honoured to receive the award but have found that it has given them greater motivation to achieve their future career goals.
Harcourt Scholars: Alex Hankey (l) & Kirsty Watson (r)
“The knowledge that I'm following in the footsteps of a man that built a hugely successful career founded on the Kew Apprenticeship gives me confidence when I think towards the future. I am inspired to work hard, aim high and make the most of every opportunity that comes my way in order to make my career a great one.” Kirsty Watson, Harcourt Scholar.
"The scholarship represents pure generosity and is all about giving people an opportunity to be trained and learn new horticultural skills that can be taken forward into future life. I am proud to be part of it and I will strive to succeed at Kew.” Alex Hankey, Harcourt Scholar.
Horticulture apprentices spend three years learning on the job in all areas of the Gardens including in the Arboretum, glasshouses and Hardy Display. We wish them all the best with their botanical careers, whichever path they choose to follow.
For more information about how you can support a Kew scholar, contact Clare Hindle on +44 (0)208 332 3228.
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