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southall's biblical herbarium

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southall's biblical herbarium

Was used to educate and fire the imagination of young children in the growing Sunday School movement

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southall's biblical herbarium

Late 19th Century



Width 54 cm (21.5 in)



A collection of dried plant specimens originating in the Holy Land produced by the Southall Brothers, druggist and medical suppliers in 1897.



Contrary to current public opinion, the study of both plants and animals in Victorian England was encouraged by the Church who considered that increasing knowledge and understanding could only further the interest in God's creation. Indeed, the author of the pamphlet which accompanied this collection, Henry Baker Tristram, member of the Royal Society, was himself a clergyman, Church Missionary Society activist and initially, at least, a supporter of Darwin's Theory of Evolution; he strongly believed that religion and science were mutually supportive studies.



This herbarium contained 38 specimens of plants found in the Holy Land including 'The Christ Thorn', the plant from which it was believed that the Crown of Thorns was made prior to Christ's crucifixion, and the accompanying pamphlet explained the Biblical references as well as providing scholarly information.



Priced at 2 guineas, several hundred pounds in today's money, the herbarium was bought by schools, universities and wealthy amateur naturalists and was used in the growing Sunday School movement to fire the childrens' imagination and increase the wonder of God.



Museum Collections:

Museum of the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Leeds



A lecture was given by Dr. Jon Topham at the University of Leeds in 2016 on the Biblical Herbarium in the university's collection.

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