bluebell wood Falls of Clyde

Blodwen Lloyd Binns

Blodwen Lloyd joined the Society in 1934; she was made an Honorary Member in 1981 and continued in active membership until her death at the age of 89 in 1991.

She came to Glasgow in 1926 to the Botany Department of the Royal Technical College, now the University of Strathclyde, where she taught Botany and Bacteriology. To augment the lectures she produced a Handbook of Botanical Drawings. In addition to teaching she was involved in the work of the Department on fermentation and was concerned also with the Marine Biology Group at Millport. Her thesis on Marine Bacteriology led to a PhD.


In 1951 Blodwen made a voyage of 1000 miles up the Amazon in the cruise ship Hilary. While the ship was immobilised due to industrial action, she went ashore to investigate the local flora and fauna, remaining there much longer than anticipated, and causing the captain James Binns considerable concern. However, as ever, she must have charmed her way out of the situation because they married some years later and became Blodwen Lloyd Binns. She retired in 1962 at the age of 60 in order to spend more time with her husband, but he died a few months later.

At the age of 63 she successfully applied for the post of Professor of Botany at the University of Malawi where her remit was to study plants of possible economic importance to the country. She translated the plant names into the Malawi language and compiled a dictionary.

Blodwen was vice-president of the Society (then known as The Andersonian Naturalists of Glasgow) from 1962-65, gave a number of talks at meetings and published articles in the Glasgow Naturalist. In August 1985 she gave a speech in Kelvingrove Museum formally opening an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the original Andersonian Naturalists' Society. (The above photograph of her was taken by Richard Sutcliffe at that event).

She made an anonymous donation to the funds of the Society in 1976, and on her death willed a substantial bequest to the Society. She is remembered as a lady who radiated friendship and kindness, and who had the ability to make people feel important during conversations which were always knowledgeable, clear and stylish and frequently witty.

- abridged from Obituary: Blodwen Lloyd Binns MSc PhD DSc FLS by Peter Macpherson in The Glasgow Naturalist 22, part 2 (1992).

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Blodwen Lloyd's Inaugural Lecture at the University of Strathclyde 1966