In defence of Kew Gardens’ ‘woke’ signs

Forget statues: the latest victims of the colonialism culture war are racist plants. Ah yes, those menacing snowdrops with their overly white petals and dangerous daffodils. As Mr Steerpike reports, Kew Gardens has entered the fray with a promise to ‘decolonise’ its collections. Presumably the next step is for its sister site in Sussex to be renamed Wokehurst Place. The Royal Botanic Gardens’ director Richard Deverell has said that ‘We’re looking at our collections and how we bring new narratives’; while his organisation’s recently-published ‘manifesto for change’ promises that by 2030, ‘we will move quickly to ‘de-colonise’ our collections, re-examining them to acknowledge and address any exploitative or racist legacies, and

The National Archives are making historians history

The next time you settle down in the evening to enjoy the latest work by your favourite historian, treasure it, because it may be their last for a while. This is for the simple reason that historians are effectively being denied access to one of the most essential tools of their trade — the National Archives. For many, this non-ministerial government department may just be an ugly slab of 1970s concrete that sits on the Thames in Kew, but it is actually nothing less than the nation’s memory — for it is here that millions of documents produced by the British state during the past thousand years are held. From