Chelsea Physic Garden offers free public access tomorrow

Chelsea Physic Garden in London is to launch a year long celebration of the life and legacy of Sir Hans Sloane and his Caribbean connections on 16 April, by giving free public access on that day.

Sir Hans Sloane (1660 - 1753) is best known as the founder of the British Museum but there is an even older historic institution that owes its existence to him.

In 1722, Sloane allowed the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries of London to rent their Physic Garden site at Chelsea, which he owned, for just £5 a year as long as it remained for the study of useful plants. 

It is largely due to Sloane's bequest that London's oldest botanic garden, originally founded in 1673, has survived. During Sloane's lifetime and throughout the 19th century, Chelsea Physic Garden was one of the most important centres of botany and plant exchange in the world . 

To celebrate the 350th anniversary of Sloane's birth Chelsea Physic Garden is devoting its 2010 programme to all things Sloane, ranging from the culinary and cultural to the botanical and medicinal.  

A major part of the Garden 2010 programme will include a Jamaican Garden. Sloane was one of the earliest Western scientists to visit the West Indian island and wrote 'Voyage to Jamaica' an important natural history about it, the first volume was published in 1707.


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