a1 Lesney Cottage, Middle Road, Winchester, Hants S022 5EJ.
On 6 September 1836, George White wrote from Hatton Garden to T. B. Hall in Liverpool:
I see by an advertisement that [there is] a proposition to form a Society to be called the Botanical Society of London—Its objects are the advancement of Botanical Science in general but more especially systematic and descriptive Botany—the formation of a Library, Museum & Herbarium—A meeting will be held at the Crown & Anchor, Strand, tomorrow evening & it is my intention to attend it—It has been proposed that Ladies should be admitted!!!
If the writer of those words lived up to his declared intention and did attend that or any other of the long string of inaugural meetings the Society held during the last quarter of that year, he would have been startled, perhaps even appalled to find how seriously that last-mentioned proposal had been taken. For on 3 November he would have found in the room at the Crown and Anchor Tavern (according to one report) ‘a crowded assembly of both ladies and gentlemen’. He would also have heard the founder of the Society, the nineteen-year-old Daniel Cooper, deliver a paper on the effects of light on plants, which (according to the same report) ‘excited great interest, more particularly with the ladies’. A fortnight later the meeting was again ‘numerously attended’ and again it attracted a number of the supposedly unlearned sex, some of whom by then were ‘members of the society’ unambiguously.