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Before I begin this post I must apologise for the confusion about my last two posts, both of which I published on Friday.  I have started looking back over my photos from last year and because I am not taking many pictures at present I thought I would write posts about last summer and autumn and use old photographs.  In looking back over past posts I realised that I had started writing up my summer holiday but hadn’t finished, so I wrote two catch-up posts on Friday.  I continued to use the series title I had started using last summer, but this meant the titles were virtually the same so some of you have read one post and some of you have read the other and very few of you have read both, probably thinking that I had posted the same one twice.  I am also having trouble posting onto Facebook.  Some of my posts get there and some don’t – heaven knows why.


Hooker House – situated right next to a busy roundabout in the middle of Halesworth.

Richard had a dental appointment on 2nd January.  His dentist’s surgery is in Halesworth in Hooker House.   Many people will think this a strange name for a house until you find out that it was named after two famous men who lived there.   Sir William Jackson Hooker moved into the house in about 1809/1810 after his marriage and lived there for eleven years.  His second son, Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker was born there but moved with his family to Glasgow when he was four years old.


The rear of Hooker House


William Jackson Hooker was born in Norwich on 6th July 1785 and went to Norwich School.  He was encouraged in his interest in botany by James Smith, a Norwich doctor who also founded the Linnaean Society.  He inherited in trust the Jackson estate in Kent when he was eleven years old.  William studied estate management and then became a partner in Halesworth Brewery.  He took a quarter share for £8000 and moved into Brewery House (as Hooker House was then called) so that he could be near to his work.  The house had a large garden and a heated greenhouse in which William grew exotic orchids.  He also devoted himself to the formation of his herbarium – his collection of dried plants.


The front door


In fact the house then was about twice the size it is now and the gardens stretched down to the river.  Probably the town park is all that remains of the magnificent garden.   He was appointed Professor of Botany at the University of Glasgow in 1820 where his career really developed.  He retained his partnership in Halesworth Brewery but sold the house to Patrick Stead, a maltster from Halesworth whose maltings were the largest in the country.


Sign on the wall of Hooker House. I’m sure you’ll understand why I didn’t call it a ‘plaque’

William was dubbed a Knight of Hanover in 1836 and then in 1841 he was made the first Director of Kew Gardens.  He held this post until his death in 1865, enlarging and transforming the grounds into one of the world’s leading botanical gardens.  He built the Temperate and Palm Houses.


Sign commemorating Sir Joseph Hooker

Sir Joseph’s education was more specialised than his father’s.  Joseph travelled and worked as a surgeon and botanist on a voyage from Antarctica to the Himalayas.  He sent home the first Rhododendron and Sarcococca Hookeriana (Sweet Christmas Box) was named after him.  He was a great friend of Charles Darwin and encouraged and supported Darwin when he wrote ‘The Origin of Species’.  Joseph’s work on the distribution of plants seems to be in support of Darwin’s theories.  By the time his father died Sir Joseph Hooker was already Deputy Director of Kew Gardens and so succeeded him as Director.


Staircase inside the house.

When I first moved to Halesworth in 1988 when Alice was three years old and I was newly divorced form my first husband I used this dentist.  I was very pleased to find that such eminent men had lived there and the unpleasant duty of going to the dentist was made more palatable by being able to look round the house.  There are information displays on the walls in the hall.

Richard and I met and we found we attended the same dentist.  As Alice got older she became unhappy with the dentist at Hooker House as he wasn’t very good at putting children at ease.  I took her to a different dentist in the town but continued going to Hooker House myself and started taking Elinor as soon as her teeth came through.  We both eventually left the dentist after an ‘incident’.  When Elinor was about two years old she started to become very nervous about going to see doctors and dentists.  During an examination Elinor became quite distressed and kicked the dentist!  He was very good about it considering the discomfort he was in but I just couldn’t go back again!

Richard took these photographs on his phone.