'The Beauty of Every Plant and Flower May be Seen'

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The collecting of tropical orchids, regarded as ‘a rich man’s hobby’, reached its zenith in the years before the First World War.

Joseph Chamberlain was one of the leading orchid collectors in the Midlands and was rarely seen in public without an orchid in his buttonhole.

Chamberlain’s interest in orchids was probably influenced by the collection of his father-in-law, Archibald Kenrick, the West Bromwich hollowware manufacturer, at Berrow Court, Edgbaston.

After being widowed in 1863 Chamberlain lived at Berrow Court for some years before moving to Southbourne in Augustus Road where he first formed a collection of orchids, displayed in a conservatory and adjoining greenhouse.

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