John Gilmour (botanist)

John Scott Lennox Gilmour VMH FLS (28 September 1906 – 3 June 1986) was a British botanist, curator of the Cambridge University Herbarium, and later director of Cambridge University Botanic Garden and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge.[1][2]

John Gilmour
Born28 September 1906
Died3 June 1986(1986-06-03) (aged 79)
EducationUppingham School
Clare College, Cambridge
Known forBotany, Horticulture, Systematics
AwardsVictoria Medal of Honour
Scientific career
InstitutionsCambridge University Botanic Garden, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, RHS Wisley
InfluencedWilliam T. Stearn


John Gilmour was born in London and educated at Downs School, Malvern, Uppingham School, Rutland and Clare College, Cambridge.[3] From 1930 to 1931 he was Curator of the Herbarium and Botanical Museum, Botany School, Cambridge University, from 1931 to 1946 Assistant Director, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, from 1946 to 1951 Director, Royal Horticultural Society, Wisley and from 1951 to 1973 Director, Cambridge University Botanic Garden. From 1946 to 1979 he was also editor of the New Naturalist. John, a declared atheist, teamed up with Fr Maycock of Little Saint Mary's to help found the Cambridge Cyrenians, dealing with the homeless. He died in 1986, at the age of 79.[4]

Cambridge 1951–1973Edit

On returning to Cambridge, Gilmour succeeded Humphrey Gilbert-Carter as director in 1951, he was an important force in the development of the Eastern Garden, once the Cory Fund monies became available, and the Cory Laboratory and glasshouses were constructed in 1957. His scientific contributions were largely in the field of systematics and horticulture, playing an important role in the Systematics Association. When he retired in 1973 he was succeeded by Max Walters.


In 1957 he was awarded the Royal Horticultural Society's Victoria Medal of Honour and in 1966 their Veitch Memorial Medal.

Selected publicationsEdit

  • Gilmour, J. and S. M. Walters, (1954) Wild Flowers, Botanising Britain, Collins
  • Gilmour, J. and S. M. Walters, (1955) New Naturalist No 5, Wild Flowers, Collins


  1. ^ ‘GILMOUR, John Scott Lennox’, Who Was Who, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 1920–2008; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2007 accessed 28 July 2013
  2. ^ Metcalfe 1963.
  3. ^ "John Scott Lennox Gilmour". Wordpress. 2013-05-23. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  4. ^ Lacey 2016, John Scott Lennox Gilmour
  5. ^ IPNI.  Gilmour.