Archive for 13/05/2014


Municipal Dreams

My thanks to Alex Ball for writing this fascinating account of Nottingham’s impressive early council housing efforts.

There is still much work to be accomplished before the complete solution of the housing problem will be in sight. The shortage in numbers is far from being made good; and only when that has been done can an effective beginning be made of the great task of replacing with good dwellings the hundreds of thousands of old ones which have ceased through age, decay, or other reason to be fit for habitation by human families if they are to live a decent life.

The slightly archaic language aside, that statement could apply to many UK cities in the recent past.  But it’s actually from the introduction to an account from nearly one hundred years ago of the Progress of the Housing Schemes in Nottingham by the City’s municipal architect. (1)  This post…

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The Academy of Natural Sciences Blog

Today’s Three Weeks Behind the Scenes photograph gives you a one-of-a-kind look at a specimen from our Botany Collection. The state flower of Oregon is a species of barberry ( Berberis aquifolium  Pursh) native to the Pacific Northwest. This Oregon grape was discovered and collected by Meriwether Lewis in 1806 during the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1803–06). Frederick Pursh’s description of this species in 1813 was based on this specimen. Specimens from the Lewis and Clark Herbarium and others collected long ago are now proving useful for studying the environmental conditions that existed before the Industrial Revolution.

How else have Lewis and Clark’s finds made their way to the Academy?

Photography: Cora Rivera.

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Plant Heritage

2014 – the Norfolk group had offered to host the National Plant Heritage AGM and the first visit on offer was a tour of the private garden of the Bishop of Norwich.  Although it had rained for us most of the way over from Surrey the sun was shining as a large group walked over to the gate.

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The four acre garden opens in aid of charity several times a year, but was opened specially for our group.  We were greeted by two Simons – the Bishop’s Chaplain, Simon Ward and the Head Gardener, Simon Gaches.

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Large open areas of lawn and woodland lie close to the cathedral with other smaller areas around the 500 year old flint boundary walls.  A rose garden includes Rosa Norwich Cathedral ( = ‘Beacath’) donated by the late Peter Beales to commemorate the 900th anniversary of the cathedral.

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One knowledgeable member of the group commented on the similarity of the…

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