South London Botanical Institute

South London Botanical Institute

At a glance


  • Education
  • Environment
  • Gardens and parks
  • Museums / heritage

Other details

Geographical remit: 


‘Discovering plants, enriching lives, sustaining the future’

We are a unique botanical educational charity, currently changing and developing at an exciting pace. Our volunteers and supporters have a valued and vibrant tradition of sharing their passion for plants and fungi and their environments.  We have a popular programme for schools and young people, as well as talks, education and leisure learning for adults.  The (unpaid) trustee group is drawn from the membership (as per our governing documents), are friendly, hands-on, demonstrates different skills and take on different lead-responsibilities.  They are supported by a small and committed part-time staff-team. Trustees, staff and wardens sit on various operational and governance sub-groups. Since 1910, we’ve been based in a Victorian house with a botanic garden, and boast a specialist library and a herbarium (pressed plant specimens).  Income comes from investments, fees, sales, donations and grants. We have recently finalised a new business plan 2021-2026 and are looking for a Chair of Trustees who will help implement it and help us achieve the plan's key strategic aims:

  • To retain our current audiences and broaden our audiences in line with local demographics
  • To make SLBI’s building and collections more physically and intellectually accessible
  • To maintain existing, and build new partnerships and collaborations locally, regionally and nationally to fulfil our aims
  • To make the SLBI more financially resilient and sustainable


Although Covid-19 meant we had to close the building to visitors from March 2020, we have opened the garden as and when allowed by government regulations, developed  a broad Zoom talks programme, uploaded learning activities for schools and families and run various socially-distanced outdoor activities for both adults and children. We have recently begun to use parts of the building again for school visits and adult activities, although still in a limited way.

Our part-time staff team and trustees continued working from home and by Zoom throughout the pandemic with online meetings for our volunteers and residential wardens.

In normal times, we are open to the public every Thursday 10-4pm, for visits, private study and certain volunteering opportunities.  We put on frequent courses, talks, outing, all-age events and field trips, both during the week and at weekends. There is a popular programme designed for local school children KS1 & KS2. The programme is designed every 6 months to be as inclusive as possible.  There are ample opportunities for volunteering across the charity.

No current opportunities

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