Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Miscellaneous Reports cataloguing and conservation project


  • Kew Royal Botanic Gardens

Project summary

The Miscellaneous Reports, held in the Archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew consist of 771 volumes collating unique archive and printed material relating to the administration of the British colonial botanic gardens and stations during the 19th and early 20th centuries. They document the economic botany of the colonial regions through correspondence with Kew, printed reports, newspaper articles and illustrative material such as maps, photographs and sketches. The collection is uncatalogued other than a list of the titles of the volumes.

We will catalogue the reports and include them on Kew's online archive. Two conservators will rehouse and repair volumes so they can be safely handled. An archivist will be employed to catalogue the papers, including people, places, plant names and subjects, making this underused and unknown body of material accessible to researchers.

A Wellcome-funded scoping report in 2015 identified that researchers were unaware of the collection and its contents, so making it accessible will enable primary research of a previously unknown resource. Potential research themes include indigenous use of plants, medicinal use, history of science, environmental history, nutrition and health, anthropology, ethnography and agricultural history.