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R O B E R T L. H A R R O W ,


W H E N our President came to Kew in 1890 all the student gardeners and sub-foremen prepared to give him a very cool reception, not because of any dislike for him, but because the circumstances of his coming to Kew did not meet with their approval. I n short, Mr. Harrow came to Kew as a sub-foreman, instead of as a student; this was due to an arrangement between the Kew and Cambridge authorities whereby Mr. Harrow came to Kew and I think Mr. G. Lamb went to Cambridge, exchanging positions. The coolness of his reception did not deter Mr. H a r r o w ; he ignored it and set about his duties in the Fernery Department with that quiet, persistent enthusiasm which has characterized his whole life and raibed him to the very responsible position he now occupies as Curator of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Notwithstanding the strong " feeling " that existed when he came to Kew, and although he took little interest in cricket and the few other sports indulged in in those distant daj's, Harrow became one of the most popular men of his time, and I cannot remember a " farewell party " that was better attended than the one given in his honour (we held our "farewells" at Isleworth in those days) just before he went to Edinburgh. The privileges of a friendship that has remained unbroken for about thirty-five years, permits me to say that no task he has ever had to undertake has been too great for " R. L. H . " His reserve force is extraordinary, and difficulties that would have broken the heart of a more robustly demonstrative man have been overcome by him without any apparent effort. Studious, persistent, keenly observant (therefore entirely capable), and with the saving grace of humour, Mr. Harrow has accomplished wonderful work at Edinburgh under the late Sir Isaac Bayley Balfour and the present Regius Keeper, Prof. W. Wright Smith, both of whom have recognized his skill and ability. I t is a pleasure to all his friends to know that during the year of his Presidency of the Kew Guild his fine work for horticulture and horticultural botany has been recognized by the Royal Horticultural Society, which has bestowed upon him the coveted honour of V.M.H.— Victoria Medal of Honour in Horticulture. Of Mr. Harrow's early experiences thei'e is little need to write. Kent is the county of his birth, and in it he served his horticultural apprenticeship, afterwards serving with Messrs. B. S. Williams at Hollo way and eventually passing to the Cambridge Botanib Garden, where, being " diligent in business," he found favour with the late Mr. R. Irwin Lynch and gained promotion. From Cambridge he came to Kew, as stated above, and in January 1893 he went to Edinburgh with a fine recommendation from Sir Wm. Thiselton-Dyer ; it is in the Scottish capital that his life's work may be seen by all who visit its famous Botanic Garden. C. H. C. 2Q2

Profile for Kew Guild Journal

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