This second edition of The History of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew is the authorised history of the world's greatest botanic gardens. Comprehensively revised, this stunning, richly illustrated reference takes in every aspect of Kew's history over two centuries - from its origin, pivotal roles in collecting, classifying and identifying the world's plants and the commercial crops it gave to the British Empire, to being a world renowned institution at the cutting edge of plant science. Kew's heritage - the Herbarium, its library, art and architecture, from Kew Palace and Burton's great Palm House to the Princess of Wales Conservatory, state of the art laboratories, seed bank and new Davies Alpine House - is illustrated and described, together with the events leading to its UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 2003. Lastly, it is a social history of the scientists, architects, designers and gardeners who have made Kew, from its humble beginnings as a small physic garden nearly 250 years ago, to the international centre for plant science it is today.
Ray Desmond was Chief Librarian and Archivist at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and subsequently a Deputy Keeper in the British Library. He is a Vice-President and former Chairman of the Garden History Society and former President of the Society for the History of Natural History which awarded him their Founders Medal. His books on the history of botany and horticulture include Bibliography of British Gardens (1984), A Celebration of Flowers (1987), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists (1994) and Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker(1999).