Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
The Earlier Opening of Kew Gardens (S457a: 1892)
Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A short article of this title appeared on page 507 of the 3
December 1892 issue of The Garden; the basic question was whether Kew Gardens should be
opened to the public at 9 o'clock in the morning instead of the then-set hour of 12 o'clock noon.
Wallace's opinion was solicited and described near the end of the piece. To link directly to this
page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S457A.htm
. . . It must also be borne in mind that there was a great interest in the other direction--namely,
that of the scientific men who were allowed the privilege of frequenting the gardens in the
morning, and Sir Joseph Hooker, when director, reported very strongly against that privilege
being withdrawn. A large number of persons now availed themselves of that regulation, and he
had received letters from gentlemen interested in the gardens objecting to the withdrawal of the
privilege by the general admission of the public, and stating that it was of great importance in the
interests of science that scientists should still have special opportunities of studying the plants.
Among others he had a letter from an eminent scientific man, Mr. Alfred Wallace, a
distinguished advocate of land nationalisation, who no doubt would have special views on the
subject upon public grounds, and who said that he had frequently gone into the gardens for some
days together for the purpose of being allowed to handle the plants and to make investigations of
a minute character that would be wholly impossible if the public generally were admitted. He
mentioned those facts to show that there was something to be said on the other side. He could
only say that he would carefully consider the question after he had ascertained what the cost
would be. He believed that the present Chancellor of the Exchequer had the same general
sympathy which he had with the public movement in favour of open spaces. Both the public
interest and the interest of scientific men should be fully considered.
The deputation then withdrew.
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