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Series 001 - Plant Documents
Reports

Part of Ludlow, F. and Sherriff, G. Collection

Identity area

Reference code

GB235 LSH/001

Title

Plant Documents

Date(s)

  • 1933 - 1952 (Creation)

Level of description

Series

Extent and medium

This series contains four sub-series: plant lists, seed lists, garden register and publications.

Context area

Name of creator

Sherriff, George (1898-1967)

Biographical history

George Sherriff attended the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich and fought in the First World War in France in 1918, where he was gassed. In 1919 he was sent to India and served on the north-west frontier. In 1927 he was appointed British vice-consul in Kashgar, Chinese Turkestan and while there travelled widely. In 1929 he met Frank Ludlow and their shared interests in ornithology, travel and plants started a lifelong friendship. During the 1930s they went on a series of plant and bird collecting expeditions working eastward along the main Himalayan ranges. In 1933, for example, they travelled to Tibet, Nang-kartse, Gyantse and back to India making 500 gatherings of plants and seeds; their collections included 69 species of rhododendron, 15 new to science. Sherriff resumed his military service during the Second World War, first in Assam and later in Sikkim and in 1943 he succeeded Frank Ludlow in charge of British Mission in Lhasa. After the war he continued collecting in south east Tibet, again with Ludlow. In 1949 both retired from India and went a final expedition to Bhutan to gather alpine and temperate flora. George Sherriff funded virtually all his expeditions himself and, as well as collecting, took thousands of photographs. He was one of first plant collectors to send specimens in crates back by air to Kew, Edinburgh and Wisley and his best plant introductions were rhododendrons, primulas, and peonies. On retirement Sherriff bought an estate near Kirriemuir in Angus where he grew many Himalayan plants with great success. In his later years he served in the Home Guard, on the county council and as session clerk of his local church.

Sources: Dictionary of National Biography; R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists; obituary folder; H.R. Fletcher ‘A Quest for Flowers’.
D.W.

Name of creator

Ludlow, Frank (1885-1972)

Biographical history

Frank Ludlow graduated from Cambridge in 1908 with a BA in natural sciences and on leaving university was appointed vice principal at Sind College, Karachi. During the First World War he served in Mesopotamia after which he went to Poona as Inspector of European Schools. In 1923 he opened a new school at Gyantse, Tibet. Although this closed in 1926 he remained on good terms with the Tibetan government and was almost uniquely allowed access to that country for a number of years. In 1927 he retired to Srinigar in Kashmir and from this date started travelling extensively, collecting birds and plants for the British Museum of Natural History. In 1928 he met George Sherriff in Kashgar in Chinese Turkestan and with their shared interests in ornithology, travel and plants they began a lifelong friendship which led to a series of major expeditions to the Eastern Himalayas and South East Tibet. During the 1930s they trekked through the Tian Shan mountains, Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet, collecting thousands of plant specimens, though on these journeys Ludlow was more concerned with the collection of birds on which he wrote extensively. During the Second World War Ludlow was in charge of British Mission in Lhasa from 1942 to 1943 and was Joint Commissioner in Ladakh from 1940-42 and again from 1943-46. He continued collecting in 1946 setting off for South East Tibet again with Sherriff. Their sixth and final great expedition together was collecting alpine and temperate flora in Bhutan in 1949. They both returned to Britain in 1950 where Ludlow spent his remaining years working on their collections in the British Museum.
Sources: R. Desmond ‘Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturalists; obituary folder; H.R. Fletcher ‘A Quest for Flowers’.
D.W.

Name of creator

Knox Finlay Family

Biographical history

Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The material was both collected by RBGE, during the period of operation, and donated by Peter Cox in 1982. The Garden Register was donated by the executors of the estate of Mrs Knox Finlay in 1989.

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