The Archives, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
We have a nearly 200 items of moving image, a large proportion of which is 35mm and 16mm amongst other formats. All material held is listed within this catalogue. Dates range from the 1940s up to the 1980s
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, holds the world's largest collection of living plants; the pre-eminent collection of preserved plants; and leading plant science laboratories.
Phone: 0208 3325417
Access: We have little viewable on site at present: only material which originated on DVD and video can be accessed. Appointment is essential. Opening Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.
All films must relate to the Gardens or its work in some way
I found the film 'Kew's World Garden' by accident! Part of my job involved doing research, and I was looking through the Journal of the Kew Guild. The Guild is an association created by and for employess, which started in 1885, and they publish a journal once a year which is a mine of useful information. I was actually looking for something else when I found a reference in 1941 to 'the Kew film'. I thought this looked interesting so read about it, and the article mentioned that it was made by the British Council, who I contacted, and eventually the film was located in the vaults of the British Film Institute where it had been since the 1940s. We thought it would be really nice to have a copy, so had the film digitised and we now hold an access copy in the archive (the original remains safely stored elsewhere). It's a great film because it shows the public gardens and the people behind the scenes. For instance, there's an illustrator who's worked with Kew a lot called Stella Boscraig; we have some information about her but there is very little in the archive from Kew of that period, so seeing her at work on film is actually quite special.
Michele Losse, Assistant Archivist