South London Botanical Institute wins £99,600 Lottery grant

South London Botanical Institute GardenThe South London Botanical Institute (SLBI) has received £99,600 towards the restoration of its historic herbarium from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The Institute, in Tulse Hill, has been awarded the two-year grant for, ‘Plant recording for all ages’, a project to bring the herbarium up-to-date and make it accessible.

The herbarium contains around 100,000 pressed plant specimens, some about 200 years old. They are housed in the original cabinets designed by the Institute’s founder over 100 years ago. The new project, starting in May, will help to conserve fragile specimens and install digital interpretation facilities so that visitors can view them online. The Institute will also widen its range of educational activities for school children, adults and young people.

Herbarium cases open at South London Botanical InstituteThe SLBI was founded in 1910 by Allan Octavian Hume, a dedicated social reformer, with the aim of bringing botany to the working people of south London.  People from local communities are able to explore the plant world, enjoy the botanic garden and library and participate in a wide range of activities for all ages and levels of ability.

Marlowe Russell, SLBI Trustee, said: “We are delighted to have received further support from the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are looking forward to updating our herbarium so that visitors have even more to enjoy and learn about when they come here.”

Stuart Hobley, Head of HLF London, said: “Rare flowers, strange fungus, not to mention thistles and moss… the historic plant collections of the South London Botanical Institute are home to fascinating examples of our botanic heritage. Many of these are beautiful, extraordinary and intriguing but also very fragile. Thanks to Lottery players, our grant will use digital technology to help many more people access and enjoy these remarkable plant specimens.”

The SLBI is open to the public on Thursdays 10am-4pm, and by appointment (subject to volunteer availability).  It runs a wide-ranging botanical and environmental programme of educational and social activities for many ages and levels of knowledge. The South London Botanical Institute (SLBI) is at 323 Norwood Road, London SE24 9AQ.

Find out more here or call 020 8674 5787