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Backhouse family (per. c. 1770–1945), naturalists and horticulturists, came to prominence with James [i] Backhouse (1721–1798), who founded the Backhouse Bank in Darlington, co. Durham, in 1774 with his sons Jonathan (1747–1826) and James [ii] (1757–1804). It was Jonathan Backhouse who initiated the family's connection with horticulture, by following the mid-eighteenth-century fashion for large-scale tree planting on his estates at ...

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Robert Ormston Backhouse 1854–1940 by Vivian Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Library; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Banneker, Benjamin (1731–1806), astronomer and farmer in America, was born on 9 November 1731 in Baltimore county, Maryland, in what later became the community of Oella, the first of four children of Robert (d. 1759), a former slave from Guinea who had been given his freedom, and his mixed-race wife, ...

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E. I. Carlyle

revised by William T. Stearn

Bateman, James (1812–1897), horticulturist and botanist, was born on 18 July 1812 at Redivals, near Bury in Lancashire, the only child of John Bateman (1782–1858), banker, ironfounder, and manufacturer, of Knypersley Hall in Staffordshire and Tolson Hall in Westmorland, and his wife, Elizabeth (...

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Beale, John (bap. 1608, d. 1683), Church of England clergyman and writer on agriculture and natural philosophy, was baptized at Yarkhill, Herefordshire, on 17 April 1608, the sixth and youngest son of Thomas Beale (1575–1620), a lawyer and prominent gentleman farmer, and his wife, ...

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Patrick Bell (1799–1869) by unknown engraver, pubd 1868 (after E. Strachan) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bell, Patrick (1799–1869), Church of Scotland minister and inventor of agricultural machinery, was born in April 1799 at mid-Leoch, in the parish of Auchterhouse, a few miles north-west of Dundee. He was one of at least two sons of George Bell, a tenant farmer at ...

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Berkeley, Randal Thomas Mowbray Rawdon, eighth earl of Berkeley (1865–1942), physical chemist and landowner, was born on 31 January 1865 at Ixelles, Brussels, the third son—but the only one born after his parents' marriage—of George Lennox Rawdon Berkeley (1827–1888) and his wife, Cécile (...

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Biffen, Sir Rowland Harry (1874–1949), geneticist and agricultural botanist, was born on 28 May 1874 at Cheltenham, the eldest of the family of two boys and three girls of Henry John Biffen, headmaster of the Christ Church higher grade school at Cheltenham, and his wife, ...

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Bobart [Bobert], Jacob, the elder (c. 1599–1680), botanist and gardener, was born at Brunswick. After a period as a soldier, during which he added a working knowledge of English and Latin to his native tongue, he settled in Oxford, possibly as an innkeeper, before being appointed superintendent of the university's new physic garden, apparently shortly before 1641, by its founder, the ...

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Bowie, James (c. 1789–1869), gardener and botanist, was born in London, son of an Oxford Street seedsman. From 1810 he was employed at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. In 1814 he was chosen by Sir Joseph Banks, with Allan Cunningham, to collect plants for ...

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David Prain

revised by M. Rangarajan

Brandis, Sir Dietrich (1824–1907), forester and botanist, born at Bonn on 31 March 1824, was the eldest son of Christian August Brandis (1790–1867) and his wife, Caroline Hausmann, a Hanoverian, who was a pioneer in social work. His father, son of the court physician at ...

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John Westby-Gibson

revised by Alexander Goldbloom

Briggs, John Joseph (1819–1876), naturalist and writer on country life, was born on 6 March 1819 at King's Newton, near Melbourne, Derbyshire, the son of John Briggs, farmer, and his wife, Mary Briggs. His parents were cousins, and they lived on the farm at ...

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Bromhead, Sir Edward Thomas Ffrench, second baronet (1789–1855), mathematician and landowner, was born in Dublin on 26 March 1789, the eldest of three sons (there were no daughters) of General Gonville Bromhead (1758–1822) of Thurlby, Lincolnshire, who was created baronet in 1806, and his wife, ...

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Buckland, Francis Trevelyan (1826–1880), pisciculturist and naturalist, was born at Christ Church, Oxford, on 17 December 1826, the son of William Buckland (1784–1856), canon of Christ Church, and his wife, Mary Buckland (1797–1857), daughter of Benjamin Morland of Abingdon, Berkshire. He was baptized on 28 June 1827, in the college....

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Buckman, James (1814–1884), naturalist and agriculturist, was born on 20 November 1814 in Cheltenham, a son of John Buckman (1767–1851), shoemaker and cordwainer, and his wife, Mary Bishop (b. 1777). He was first articled to Stephen H. Murley, a Cheltenham surgeon-apothecary, who inculcated in him an interest in science. From about 1835 ...