Harvest Moon and the Wheat Wizard

  In September the John Innes Centre celebrated the life and work of plant breeder Rowland Biffen, one of the key figures documented in the Plant Breeding Institute archives which were transferred to JIC archives after the Institute was privatised in 1987. The celebration was planned around a huge wooden desk ‘Biffen’s Desk’ which has […]

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Art on display, The Unexpected exhibition in the Rare Books Room

‘The Unexpected’ Art Exhibition, 3rd April to 2nd May

This delightful project was the fruit of collaboration between Sarah Wilmot, Outreach Curator for the John Innes Centre and Dr Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Fine Art Lecturer at the Norwich University of the Arts. Krzysztof and Sarah met accidently in a coffee shop close to the White Cube Gallery in London. We’d individually trekked in to the […]

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The John Innes Garden staff in 1912

What did the John Innes do during the First World War?

This year’s excellent media coverage of the events and experiences of the First World War got me thinking about the John Innes and how the War had affected the men and women working here. We can’t really tell that story in photographs (how can you record an absence?), but Beatrice Bateson’s William Bateson: Naturalist (1928) […]

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The meaning of flowers: a Valentine’s Day blog

When our John Innes Centre scientists ask about the meaning of flowers you can be pretty sure they are not thinking about flower symbolism and the language of love. That’s probably not unusual for the majority of us; aside perhaps from choosing flowers for a wedding or funeral, most of the culture and folklore of […]

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The First Moderns: Art Nouveau, from Nature to Abstraction

If you haven’t seen it yet, you really should get along to the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts First Moderns exhibition, which among its object collections is showcasing a selection of rare botanical books from the John Innes Historical Collections. The exhibition can be found on the West Mezzanine, and will close on the 8th […]

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From ‘Dora and Desmond’ to Professor Roy Markham and Professor David Lipkin

In this guest blog archives enthusiast Anna Cullingford describes how she stumbled across a collection of John Innes related letters at a local auction in Norfolk. My neighbour had put us in touch, knowing that I looked after the John Innes archives. ‘Would I like to see them?’- Of course I would!  I thought this […]

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‘Discovering Carnivores’, 12th-13th September 2013

On Thursday and Friday last week over 40 people gathered to hear John Innes Centre scientist Karen Lee talk about ‘Discovering Carnivores’: the kind that belong to the plant world. Karen gave her talk in the John Innes Centre Rare Books Room, one of two special rooms built to house the John Innes Foundation Historical […]

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Forgotten book reveals a 110-year-old secret about one of Mendel’s rediscoverers

In 1985 the John Innes Centre History of Genetics Library gained a new accession, a duplicate copy of the first edition of William Bateson’s Mendel’s Principles of Heredity: A Defence, published by Cambridge University Press in 1902. No fanfare that we can find accompanied the addition of this copy to the shelves, the Accessions Register […]

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