Royal Botanic Society

The Royal Botanic Society was a learned society founded in 1839 by James de Carle Sowerby under a royal charter to the Duke of Norfolk and others. Its purpose was to promote "botany in all its branches, and its applications." Soon after it was established, it leased the grounds within the Inner Circle in Regent's Park, London, about 18 acres (7.3 ha), for use as an experimental garden. Sowerby remained as secretary for some 30 years, and J. B. Sowerby and W. Sowerby later also served as secretaries. The garden was open to members and their guests and also to the general public for a fee on certain days of the week. It included large palm-houses and a water-lily house. In the summer, flowershows, fetes, and other entertainments were held there.[1][2][3]

A design for the Royal Botanic Society Gardens in Regent's Park, London by Decimus Burton, 1840.

In 1932 it failed to secure a renewal of the lease, and the Society was dissolved. Its surviving record were deposited in the St. Marylebone Public Library.[4]

The site became Queen Mary's Gardens, which is run by the Royal Parks Agency, and is fully open to the general public without charge as part of Regent's Park.


  1. ^ Meynell, Guy (2013). "The Royal Botanic Society's Garden, Regent's Park". The London Journal. 6 (2): 135–146. doi:10.1179/ldn.1980.6.2.135.
  2. ^ "Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Societies - Botanical Society of London". Victorian London. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Royal Botanic Society of London (1839-1931)". JSTOR Global Plants. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Records of the Royal Botanic Society of London". National Archives. Retrieved 25 April 2016.

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Coordinates: 51°31′39.33″N 0°9′13.17″W / 51.5275917°N 0.1536583°W / 51.5275917; -0.1536583