The Royal Botanic Society was founded in 1839 by a royal charter granted to the Duke of Norfolk, K.G., E.M.; the Duke of Richmond, K.G.; the Earl of Albemarle; Lieut-Col. Rushbrooke; Philip Barnes, Esq.; and James De Carle Sowerby, Esq. It was intended to promote 'botany in all its branches, and its application to medicine, arts, and manufactures, and also for the formation of extensive botanical and ornamental gardens within the immediate vicinity of the metropolis', according to Mogg's New Picture of London and Visitor's Guide to it Sights, 1844. The Society was granted an area of eighteen acres within the inner circle of Regent's park, and Robert Marnock, one of the outstanding horticulturists and garden designers of the 19th century, laid out the gardens very much as they still are today. Shortly after its establishment, annual exhibitions or flower-shows were begun, and such exhibitions, not entirely confined to flowers, are still one of the features of the society. Queen Victoria agreed to be Patron of the Society.
Mogg's reported that 'The ground now in the possession of the society forms the inner circle of the Regent's Park, consists of about 18 acres, and is admirably adapted to the purposes contemplated: preparations are making for the reception of plants from all countries.'
'A great part of the garden has been laid out ornamentally and planted, and it is proposed to erect conservatories, hot-houses, and suitable buildings for a lecture-room, museum, library, studio, or such other purposes as may be deemed requisite to attain the objects stated in the charter.'
Cruchley's London in 1865: A Handbook for Strangers, reported that 'The Society holds here four exhibitions every year, which attract to the Regent's Park the fashion, beauty, wealth, and aristocracy of the Metropolis.'
The Society maintained Regent's Park until 1932.
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Volume XIV. The Victorian Age, Part Two. Http://www.bartleby.com/224/0833.html
Victorian London website http://www.victorianlondon.org/entertainment/botanicalsociety.htm.