University of Birmingham Herbarium
Winterbourne is now home to the University of Birmingham Herbarium, a collection of dried plant specimens preserved and classified for study and research.
In the early 1900s, the Professor of Botany at the University of Birmingham began creating the Herbarium as a resource for the Botany department. Through purchases, donations and bequests, the University steadily acquired collections of plant specimens from both professional and amateur botanists. Today, the Herbarium contains at least 50,000 specimens of British flora, dating from the early 19th century to the 1970s.
Most of the specimens have been catalogued online and the collection can be searched by selecting University of Birmingham on this web page: https://herbariaunited.org/atHome/
For many years the Herbarium was central to botanical education and research at the University, but by the early 2000s it had ceased to play a formal part in academic teaching. In 2021, the Herbarium was moved to a new permanent home at Winterbourne.
Alongside the actual plant specimens, Winterbourne also holds archival material relating to the Herbarium. This collection includes early photographs, botanical drawings, and correspondence about the formation of the Herbarium which sheds light on the many plant collectors who contributed to it.
Research into the origins of the Herbarium revealed an early link with Winterbourne. Margaret Nettlefold contributed money to a fundraising project for the purchase of a major collection of moss specimens, which are still here in the Herbarium.
You can now visit our new permanent exhibition, called ‘The Dry Garden: Treasures from the University Herbarium’, in the House at Winterbourne.
If you would like to make a research visit to the Herbarium, please make an enquiry via our contact form and the Curator will get in touch with you to arrange an appointment.