Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker
Born: 30 Jun, 1817
Died: 10 Dec, 1911
Field: Scientist
Location in the Abbey: North choir aisle
Type of memorial: Tablet
Type of material: Marble

In the north choir aisle of Westminster Abbey is a white marble memorial to eminent botanist Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker. The memorial has a profile portrait in relief and is signed by sculptor Frank Bowcher 1915. The Latin inscription can be translated:

"Joseph Dalton Hooker 1817-1911. Most skilled at the science of herbs"

He was born at Halesworth in Suffolk on 30 June 1817, a son of Sir William Hooker, botany professor at Glasgow university, and his wife Maria (Turner). Educated in Glasgow he graduated as a doctor and sailed on an expedition to New Zealand and the Antarctic as a surgeon. His first volume on the botany of these regions was published in 1884 and he formed a friendship with Charles Darwin. Later he travelled to India and the Himalayas and to the USA. In 1851 he married Frances Henslow and they had four sons and three daughters. His second wife was Hyacinth Symonds and they had two sons. Joseph was appointed Assistant Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey, where his father was its first Director. In 1865 he succeeded his father. In 1877 he was knighted and in 1907 he received the Order of Merit. He died on 10 December 1911 and burial was offered in the Abbey but declined by his widow who decided he should be buried beside his father in St Anne's churchyard in Kew.

A photo of the memorial can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

See also the entry for Darwin on our website.

Further reading:

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004.

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