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Sir William Henry Flower

Sir William Henry Flower

Birth
Death 1 Jul 1899 (aged 67)
Burial Stone, Aylesbury Vale District, Buckinghamshire, England
Memorial ID 111817459 · View Source
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Zoologist and museum curator. He was an English comparative anatomist and surgeon. He became a leading authority on mammals, and especially on the primate brain. He supported Thomas Henry Huxley in an important controversy with Richard Owen about the human brain, and eventually succeeded Owen as Director of the Natural History Museum. was born at his father's house in Glade Valley "The Hill", Stratford-upon-Avon. His father, Edward Fordham Flower, had lived in America and was an opponent of the slave trade; the family's antecedents were Puritan. When Edward Flower returned to England, he founded a brewery in Stratford-on-Avon and married Celina Greaves. He was at first taught by his mother, and went to a boarding school in Edgbaston at 11. In 1844 at 13 he was sent to a school in Worksop run by a German headmaster, Dr. Heldenmaier. There were ten hours daily schooling, and this included science (rare at that time). Flower was made Curator of the school museum, and for almost the rest of his life he was a museum curator of one kind or another. His interest in natural history appears to have been further fostered in early life by interactions with Rev. P.B. Brodie, an enthusiastic zoologist and geologist. He wrote later in life in his book, Essays on Museums, that he was pleased to create a museum as a boy with a miscellaneous collection of natural history objects, kept at first in a cardboard box, but subsequently housed in a cupboard. In March 1852 he read his first paper before the Zoological Society, of which he was a Fellow. He was appointed Junior House Surgeon at the Middlesex Hospital, and after six months promoted to Senior House Surgeon. In 1854 Flower joined the Army Medical Service, and went out to serve in the Crimean War. He was gazetted as Assistant-Surgeon to the 63rd Regiment of Foot; and in July 1854 embarked with his regiment at Cork for Constantinople. In four months Flower's Regiment was reduced in strength by almost one half, from cold and exposure, infectious diseases and enemy action. He resigned from the army in 1855 due to ill-health. In recognition of his services, he received from the hands of Queen Victoria the Crimea Medal with clasps for Alma, Inkerman, Balaclava, and Sebastopol; he received the Turkish medal later. In 1884, on the retirement of Sir Richard Owen, Flower was appointed to the directorship of the Natural History departments of the British Museum in South Kensington. The four natural history departments were Zoology, Botany, Mineralogy, Geology. Each department had its own Keeper, who was largely autonomous from the Director. At that time the Director was subject to the supervision of the Principal Librarian of the British Museum; now all three institutions (British Library, British Museum and Natural History Museum) are administered and funded separately.


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  • Created by: julia&keld
  • Added: 5 Jun 2013
  • Find A Grave Memorial 111817459
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Sir William Henry Flower (30 Nov 1831–1 Jul 1899), Find A Grave Memorial no. 111817459, citing St. John the Baptist Churchyard, Stone, Aylesbury Vale District, Buckinghamshire, England ; Maintained by julia&keld (contributor 46812479) .