The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: London to Manchester in the Spring of 1831

Manchester botanic garden

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We cannot quit the subject of the Manchester botanic garden without mentioning a few traits of liberality in the parties connected with it; the noble result, as we think, of the influence of commercial prosperity in liberalising the mind. Mr. Trafford, the owner of the ground, offered it for whatever price the committee chose to give for it. The committee took it at its value to a common farmer, and obtained a lease of the 16 statute acres (10 Lancashire) for 99 years, renewable for ever, at 120l. a year (The rent paid to Lord Calthorpe for the Birmingham garden, of exactly the same extent, on a 60 years' lease, is considerably more than double this sum. On our suggesting to the committee that they ought to remonstrate with Lord Calthorpe on the extravagance of the rent, considering that the garden would greatly benefit his surrounding estates, we were answered that Lord Calthorpe, being only a life holder, could not let his land for less than the highest price it could fetch, without committing an act of injustice towards his heirs, the estate being entailed. So much for the entail system, which, with the few of primogeniture, will, we hope, be speedily done away with. We detest such excuses. Mr. Trafford has a large family; Lord Calthorpe has neither wife nor child, nor any direct heir. He would not have been guilty of excessive liberality if he had granted the land for nothing. Let him do so still during his lifetime, and the committee will take the chance of what may happen after his death.). The committee advertised for plans, and not only gave the premiums they promised, but some artists who failed in winning prizes were presented with sums on account of the trouble they had taken. The most liberal donations of trees, plants, and books, have been made by surrounding gentlemen; and Mr. John Smith of the Throstle Nest paper mills, at old Trafford, who has an elevated cistern of water supplied by machinery from the Irwell, seeing a situation in the garden marked out for a fountain, has kindly offered to supply the water, if the committee think it worth while to lay down pipes.