John Cherry

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John Cherry (1846-1935)



John W. Cherry was the son of Selina nee Macauley and John W. Cherry. Both his parents had been born in India. His mother was a doctor’s daughter and had a brother in the army in India, whilst his father was a civil servant there. John’s parents had married in Madras in 1841 and several of their children were born in India. They made periodic visits to England however and John himself was born in the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in 1846 probably during one of their journeys.

At the age of five he was living with his mother at Coombehead House in Bampton in Devon but by 1853 his family had moved to Middlesex and he then went back with them to India. During the Indian Mutiny between 1857 and 1859 his father became a corporal in the 1st Madras Fusiliers and it was also around this time that his mother died. This left his widowed father with eight young children to look after and it was probably this that led to his decision to bring the family back to England. By 1861 John and his siblings were living at Hokerys Priory in Reading. John’s father subsequently went back to India where he died in December 1866, but John remained in England.

It seems that it was at this time that he began looking at the flora of Hackney probably whilst he was living in Stratford. He contributed records of the plants he found between 1866 and 1868 (as well as records from Brentford and Edmonton) to the first comprehensive flora of Middlesex – that by Trimen and Dyer.

He was probably trying to develop his botanical knowledge through these studies of local plants because on 5 February 1869 he joined the Forest Department in Madras as an assistant conservator and he spent the next thirty years as a member of the civil service in India. He worked his way up in the Forest Department becoming deputy conservator in January 1872 and then the head conservator in October 1891 a post which he held until his retirement in July 1900.

He subsequently returned to England and lived in Newbury in Berkshire until his death in 1935 at the age of 89.

information included from the herbariaunited database

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references and external links

  • Kent DH & Allen DE. 1984. British and Irish Herbaria. London.

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