H is for Henslow
Ipswich Record Office holds a contains a collection of documents (HD654) relating to John Stevens Henslow (1796-1861) who was Professor of Botany at Cambridge, Rector of Hitcham and a tutor of Charles Darwin. The papers include printed works, list of works written by Henslow, notes on his life and career by John Glyde, correspondence and accounts relating to Hitcham school and charities; and reports on allotments, horticultural show tickets and programmes for botanical and horticultural shows. It also shows his interest in issues of the day with correspondence about the Anti-Slavery Society, British Association for the Advancement of Science and the Reform Association.
There are also papers in the Hitcham parish collection at Bury St Edmunds Record office (FL586) including an obituary from the Illustrated London News, 22 June 1861.
This records how well loved he was by his parishoners who ‘looked up to him as a father’. He shared his passion for botany with the children of Hitcham and, the obituary records, ‘Monday afternoons in summer one might see his botanical Rifle Corps, of over forty members, between eight and eighteen years of age, doing this ‘extra work – a labour of love – with animation and zeal’.
He also introduced a horticultural society ‘which is one of the most popular and useful societies in England – the exhibition of fruit, flowers, vegetables, honey etc being worth a journey to Suffolk to see’.