Robert Braithwaite

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Robert Braithwaite

Birthplace: Ruswarp, nr Whitby, Yorkshire, England (United Kingdom)
Death: 1917
Immediate Family:

Son of Robert Braithwaite and Sarah Braithwaite
Husband of Charlotte Elizabeth Braithwaite
Brother of Sarah Braithwaite; Ann Sykes Heseltine; George Braithwaite; John Braithwaite; William Braithwaite and 2 others

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About Robert Braithwaite

Dr. Robert Braithwaite

Birth date: 1824

Birth Place: Ruswarp, nr Whitby, Yorkshire

Date of Death: 1917

Place of Death: Lambeth Reg. District, london Vol. 1d page 463 aged 93

Portrait - can be seen in [1]


Father: Robert Braithwaite (1795-1854) Ship-owner and Master Mariner, Merchant service Whitby, Yorkshire.

Mother: Sarah Major (c1804 - 1879)

Marriage: JunQ 1869 Greenwich Reg. District, London Vol 1d page 885 to Charlotte Elizabeth Ward, daughter of Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward inventor of the "Wardian Case"

Children: The couple had no children having married late in life.

Occupation: Field botanist - Bryologist; Medical general practitioner. He was better known in botanical circles as a correspondent than as a companion in the field. [1]

Career: He was schooled in Whitby. At the time of the 1841 Census he was apprenticed to George Holby, a surgeon. In 1844 he went to London and spent 10 years as assistant to Dr. Johan Dalston Jones (c1811-1869) in Hackney (1851 census). He then went to University College and studdied medicine, qualifying in 1858 at the age of 34. He firstly practiced in Lambeth and later moved to Clapham. His wife died in 1898.

Robert Braithwaite’s botanical interests very probably instigated by his medical training. At that time men practicing medicine familiarised themselves with native plants and their therapeutic and toxic properties. When Braithwaite arrived in London there was a growing interest in microscopy. He was an acquaintance of Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward (1791- 1868), who was a master at the Chelsea Physic Garden in 1854, the same year that Robert Braitwaite started his medical studies. Ward and his acquaintance, Thomas Wheeler, were enthusiastic field-botanists. Ward practised medicine from his surgery in Wellclose Square in Whitechapel, and invented the Wardian case, which improved the conditions under which plants were transported from distant countries.

He was an active member of the Quekett Microscopical Society, and President in 1872-3. He also became President of the South London Microscopical Society (1873-5) and the Royal Microscopical Society (1892-3).

"Braithwaite found the moss Trematodon ambiguus near Schiehallion in Perthshire, new to Britain in 1883 and not seen in this country since. His herbarium is at the Natural History Museum in London." [1]


1878 The sphagnaceæ or peat-mosses of Europe and North America - 1 edition

1880 The sphagnaceæ or peat-mosses of Europe and North America - 8 editions

1887-1905 The British moss-flora - 3 volumes illustrated by himself

Other Notes: His Grandfather, Robert Braithwaite, married Sarah Fishburn, daughter of Thomas Fishburn ( he died in 1805), who built Captain Cook’s ship Endeavour in 1764.[1]

Extracts from his obituary by H.N. Dixon are given in [1] and are very enlightening as regards Braithwaite's character!


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Robert Braithwaite's Timeline

May 16, 1824
nr Whitby, Yorkshire, England
Age 92
Whitby, Yorkshire, England UK