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1 HERMAN

SPOONER

Very different is the new President's life from that of Mr. G. Pring, whom he succeeds in the Presidential Chair. Born on July 4th, 1878, at Lawford, Essex, on the Suffolk border, in what is known as Constable's country, he has, since entering Kew in 1900, scarcely left the London area, as will be seen from these remarks. Inspired by the career of his Uncle, Edgar Spooner, who entered Kew in 1873, and was sent to fill a post in India, at Lahore in the Punjab, young Spooner decided on a similar career. He started work at Lawford Hall Gardens and whilst there was granted periods of leave to attend courses of instruction at the Chelmsford County School of Horticulture, where the practical work was taught by Charles Wakeley, an old Kewite, who encouraged him to enter Kew. At the School Examination in 1895, our President was awarded a County Scholarship tenable to two years at the Royal Horticultural Society's Gardens then at Chiswick, under Mr. S. T. Wright, an authority on fruit-growing in those days. Students had to attend the R.H.S. Meetings then held at the London Scottish Drill Hall in Buckingham Palace Road, and assist at the various judging Committees; Spooner was attached to the Orchid Committee for most of his time. Chiswick being close to Kew, it was natural that he spent much of his time there, and he eventually entered the Gardens as a student in 1900. Starting in the Temperate House under W. Dallimore, followed by a spell in the Palm House with C. P. Raffill, he passed to the Decorative Department under F. Garrett and finally to the Melon Yard pits under W. Hackett. Of a studious nature, he was especially keen on J. R. Jackson's lectures on Economic botany given in the Museums, and the " Mutual." The Kew Guild was inaugurated during his period at Kew, and he is one of the original members. Leaving Kew in 1901, he was disappointed that no Colonial post was available, but the great firm of Messrs. James Veitch & Sons, of Chelsea, had applied to Kew for a man to undertake their catalogues and to act as botanical assistant. This post he accepted, and although rather against the grain, he settled down and found it most interesting work. His predecessor in the post was Adolphus H. Kent, author of Veitch's " Manual of Coniferae," and Veitch's " Manual of Orchidaceous Plants." Besides the Chelsea Nursery, the firm had others at Southfields, Fulham (now a Public Park), at Coombe Wood, Kingston Hill; at Langley near Slough, and at Feltham, Middlesex; and Spooner had to visit these periodically and keep in touch with their activities. At this time E. H. Wilson was sending home seeds and specimens collected on his China travels for the Veitchian firm and it was through dealing with the correspon-

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