The herbarium collection consists of 4274 specimens dating from the 19th century this extensive collection provides significant social history and ecological information.
Who was Joseph Martindale?
Martindale had a keen interest in science from a young age, but his father’s premature death prevented him from attending university instead he pursued a career as a teacher. He was the school master at Staveley Westmorland from 1859 to 1902.
Martindale also pursued his interest in botany and was a prolific collector his collection includes a comprehensive study of flowering plants. The collection is important as it provides a snap shot in time of plants found in Cumbria, many species in the collection are now very rare or have become extinct. Studying the collection can provide information about how populations have changed over time and research can be undertaken to understand if this is due to climate change or habitat disturbance.
The collection also has an interesting social history as Martindale formed friendships with other botanist in Lakeland and they often wrote letters to each other and interchanged specimens. Some of the letters are stored at Kendal museum.
Digitising the collection will make the herbarium more accessible, currently it is not on display to the public due to its fragile nature. The project aims to engage the local community by developing events and activities such as planting seeds and flower pressing.