Introducing a botanical delight on the doorstep of Dulwich...
The South London Botanical Institute was founded to enable the people of south London to have the opportunity to study plants. It is not aimed at academics, although there are professional plants people on hand, but at people who have an interest and who would like to develop this interest in the company of like-minded people.
The SLBI at 323 Norwood Road, SE24 was founded in 1910 by Allan Octavian Hume. Hume had been a high ranking civil servant in India in the late 1800's where he had in his leisure been a leading ornithologist. His collections of birds is the largest ever presented to the Natural History Museum and his collection of mammals can still be seen in the NHM galleries today. An outspoken individual, he is officially considered one of the founders of the Indian National Congress that worked towards self-determination for India. After his return to England he became interested in botany and eventually purchased the Victorian house at 323 Norwood Road for this purpose. The SLBI still provides facilities for discovering botany, ecology, horticulture, plant conservation and related arts today.
Our members include a variety of people - amateur and professional botanists, gardeners, artists, photographers, writers and others. Many distinguished botanists have been associated with the SLBI, notably W.R. Sherrin, Dr. John Ramsbottom, Ted Lousley and Dr Cecil Prime.
In December our Christmas party will feature a selection of short films about the SLBI, its members and related matters. All are welcome. In January we are running evening classes on medicinal herbs and a six week course on Saturday mornings for Botanical Illustrators. Our lectures and educational courses are highly reflective of the varied interests of our members and are suitable for beginners and refreshers. In the summer, field excursions are arranged, and dispersed throughout the year are workshops, garden open days and other events of interest.
Members receive a bi-annual newsletter, the SLBI Gazette which is packed with articles with a botanical slant.
A lovely botanic garden first established in 1935 is maintained by volunteers, and themed beds occupy the entire garden. Volunteers are encouraged, and the annual seed swap allows members to grow rare plants at home. Our Spring Plant Sale in May is popular and plants are grown locally by members.
The Institute supports an extensive botanical library specializing in regional flora, a historic herbarium, a basic laboratory and lecture facilities. The herbarium houses many thousands of pressed and dried plants collected from the British Isles and from across Europe during the late 1800s. Curious visitors and volunteers are always welcome. These resources are available every Thursday from 10am to 4pm.
Alternatively visit our website www.slbi.org.uk and visit "What's on" for our latest programme of events.