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Cowan, Alexander

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Cowan, Alexander

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  • Alex Cowan
  • Alexander Cowan

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1863-1943

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Born 1863; died 1943
Alex Cowan was the grandson of Alexander Cowan, a papermaker and local benefactor of Valleyfield House, Penicuik, Midlothian. Educated at Loretto School and Cambridge University he developed a love of the flowers and ferns which grew in the gardens of Valleyfield House and his home, Dalhousie Castle as well as the family’s country seat at Logan. He acquired plants while travelling in Europe and established an important fern collection. Cowan was made a fellow of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh in 1900 and was later its President from 1937 to 1939. He was secretary of the Alpine Botanical Club between 1903 and 1924 and, reflecting his knowledge of and interest in ferns, was President of the British Pteridological Society from 1909 to 1920. In his later years he developed an interest in breeding sheep in his farms in the Pentland Hills. Following the family tradition of public service he was Provost of Penicuik Town Council for nine years and served on Midlothian County Council for forty.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists’; Transactions of Botanical Society of Edinburgh obituary 1943
D.W.

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