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Sir Joseph Banks's London House

Nature volume 139, page 280 (13 February 1937) | Download Citation



IT is too late to protest against the destruction of Sir Joseph Banks's town house at 32 Soho Square, and our commercial age will demand its removal together with many other examples of eighteenth century domestic architecture. Only the tablet placed on the house in 1911 and the description and plan in Country Life of September 27, 1913, will remain to us. Sir Joseph moved there from New Burlington Street in the autumn of 1777, and remained there until his death in 1820. The Linnean Society leased part of the house from 1827 until 1857, when it moved to Old Burlington House. The subsequent tenants, including the Hospital for Diseases of the Heart and a firm of decorators, made many alterations, but the fine ceilings and an exquisite overmantel and fireplace were reminders of its original beauty. Banks's magnificent collections were housed there under the able care of the botanist-librarians Solander, Dryander and Robert Brown. Banks bequeathed his collections to Brown, who transferred them to the British Museum, remaining in charge of them until his death in 1858.

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