South London Botanical Institute was established in 1910 by Allan Octavian Hume, a natural historian who had worked in India and was involved in the setting up of the Indian National Congress in 1883. He came to live in Norwood on his return in 1894 with the wish of ‘converting the boy in the gutter and the man in the street to a love for our British plants’. Many distinguished botanists have been associated with the botanical institute he set up.
The garden now has over 500 labelled species in themed borders; a pond supports native wetland plants and is home to frogs and newts. As part of celebrations for the Institute’s centenary, a ‘living museum of strange visitors’ is being re-created, as the new garden was described in a newspaper article in 1912.