Leopold Hartley Grindon

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Leopold Hartley Grindon (28 March 1818 – 1904) was an educator and botanist. He was a pioneer in the sphere of adult education. His collection of plants, related botanical drawings and writings, formed one of the principal assets of the herbarium at Manchester Museum at the time of its foundation in 1860.[1]

Early life[edit]

Leopold Hartley Grindon was born in Bristol on 28 March 1818 and educated at Bristol College. He established the Bristol Philobotanical Society while still at school. He moved to Manchester when aged 20 where he spent a year as an apprentice in a warehouse before becoming a cashier for John Whittaker & Company's cotton business where he stayed until 1864.[2][3]


Grindon, whose father was a solicitor and a coroner, developed an early interest in botany and was self-taught in other areas of science, such as astronomy and geology. At the age of 13, he started a collection of dried plants and by 18 he envisaged the creation of a herbarium of all the cultivated and wild plants found in Britain. He grew many specimens from seed and collected writings and drawings, particularly of plants that were difficult to grow or obtain in specimen form.[3] He described that

I desired also to introduce every bit of printed matter referring to the plant that might come in my way, with descriptions alike of the individual species and of the Natural Orders, the uses and other particulars also have a place and seeing that Botany is wreathed also with all kinds of poetical and other human associations, everything that would illustrate these was also to go into the Herbarium so-called, which thus to be a Herbarium and a Botanical library fused into one.[3]

In 1860, Grindon and the calico printer, Joseph Sidebotham, founded the Manchester Field-Naturalists' Society (MFNS).[4] He attended the Mechanics' Institute and was appointed a lecturer in botany at the Manchester Royal School of Medicine whilst offering private tuition in the subject.[2]


When Grindon moved to Manchester, he lived in Portland Street and moved to Romford Street where he lived for a 30 years. In 1883 he moved to Cecil Street in Greenheys where he died aged 87 in 1904.[3]

He married Rosa Elverson, a sympathsiser of the feminist movement and lecturer at local institutions such as the Manchester Geographical Society and the Manchester Working Men's Clubs Association.[5] She outlived him and donated a large stained-glass window to Manchester Central Library in his memory. The window designed by Robert Anning Bell, is above the entrance to the library's Shakespeare Hall.[6]


Frontispiece to The Manchester Flora, a Leo. H. Grindon book published in 1859.

Among Grindon's publications, many of which were written while still employed as a cashier, are:[3]

He also contributed to many journals and to the Manchester City News,[3] and wrote items entirely unconnected to botany such as Manchester Banks and Bankers (1877) and A History of Lancashire (1882).


  1. ^ "Plants". Manchester: University of Manchester. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Kargon, Robert (2009) [1977 – Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press]. Science in Victorian Manchester: Enterprise and Expertise (Reprinted ed.). New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-4128-1081-4. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Weiss, F. E, (31 March 1930). "Leopold Hartley Grindon" (PDF). North Western Naturalist. V: 16–22. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  4. ^ Egerton, Frank N. (2003). Hewett Cottrell Watson: Victorian Plant Ecologist and Evolutionist. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing. p. 145. ISBN 978-0-7546-0862-2. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  5. ^ Lightman, Bernard V. (2007). Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for New Audiences. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-226-48118-0. Retrieved 19 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "History of Central Library: Features of the Building". Manchester: Manchester City Council. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "Author Query for 'Grindon'". International Plant Names Index. 

Further reading[edit]

  • King, Daniel Q. (April 2007). "A checklist of sources of the botanical illustrations in the Leo Grindon Herbarium, The Manchester Museum". Archives of Natural History. Edinburgh University Press for The Society for the History of Natural History. 34: 129–139. doi:10.3366/anh.2007.34.1.129. ISSN 0260-9541.  (subscription required)
  • The Manchester Guardian (21 November 1904). "Mr. Leo Grindon". The Manchester Guardian. Manchester. p. 12. Retrieved 22 June 2012.  (subscription required)
  • Percy, John (1991). "Scientists in humble life; the artisan naturalists of South Lancashire" (PDF). Manchester Region History Review. Manchester: Manchester Metropolitan University. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 

External links[edit]