M Hildred Bigwood
Miss M Hildred Bigwood (-1999)
From BSBI News No. 88 (September 2001) p.14.
In January 2000, Liverpool Museum Herbarium (LIV) acquired the herbarium of the late Miss Hildred Bigwood of Kington, Herefordshire. Miss Bigwood was a former technician in the Botany Department at Aberystwyth University, where some of her specimens are to be found. Dr A. E. Caunt, a friend of Miss Bigwood, informed us that the collection comprised over 1,000 specimens mainly collected from throughout the British Isles.
It was apparent from the collection that Miss Bigwood had been a keen botanist. The specimens were, on the whole, mounted, fully labelled and the majority were identified to species level. We actually accessioned over 2,650 specimens in total, a great many of which were non-British. The collection was mainly comprised of flowering plants, 32 of the British specimens are rare or endangered, and there were 76 specimens of non-flowering plants, including ferns, fern allies, clubmosses, horsetails and one alga Padina pavonia. In Europe, Miss Bigwood had collected in several countries including France, Greece, Norway and Switzerland.
According to Flora Europaea, Turkey and the Greek islands of Kos and Kalymnos, all lie outside of the boundary dividing Europe from the Orient. As Miss Bigwood had collected in these areas we were also able to add just over 100 previously unrepresented species to our Extra-European herbarium.
It was Miss Bigwood's wish that her collection would not be split up between different institutions, and we have now incorporated all of the material into our collections. Unfortunately, she died before her herbarium found its home at LIV. Liverpool Museum is undergoing major refurbishment works at the moment and the herbarium and library have been packed up and remain inaccessible at present. We hope to be back in the new Museum building in spring 2002 when we will be open for business as usual.
WENDY ATKlNSON, Assistant Curator, Herbarium, Liverpool Museum, William Brown Street, Liverpool, L3 8EN
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