Excerpt from Annual Report for 1911 With the Supplement to the "Guide to the Experimental Plots": Containing the Yields Per Acre, Etc
John Bennet Lawes was the founder of the Rothamsted Experimental Station. He began experiments with various manurial substances, first with plants in pots and then in the field, soon after entering into possession of the estate at Rothamsted in 1834. In 1843 more systematic field experiments were begun, and the services of J. H. Gilbert were obtained as Director, thus starting the long association which only terminated with the death of Lawes in 1900, followed by that of Gilbert in 1901.
The Rothamsted Experimental Station has never been connected with any external organisation, but has been maintained entirely at the cost of the late Sir John Lawes. In 1889 he constituted a Trust for the continuance of the investigations, setting apart for that purpose the Laboratory (which had been built by public subscription, and presented to him in 1855), certain areas of land on which the experimental plots were situated, and £100,000.
By the provisions of the Trust Deed the management is entrusted to a Committee nominated by the Royal Society (four persons), the Royal Agricultural Society (two persons), the Chemical and Linnean Societies (one each), and the owner of Rothamsted.
It has latterly been the desire of the Committee to obtain additional funds for the extension of the work of the Station. In 1906 Mr. J. F. Mason, M.P., presented the Committee with £1000 for the building and equipment of the "James Mason" Bacteriological Laboratory, together with a grant towards its maintenance. In 1907 the Goldsmiths' Company made a grant of £10,000 the income from which is devoted to the payment of a special assistant for the investigation of the soil. The Permanent Nitrate Committee have also made a grant of £2000 to the endowment. The Society for extending the Rothamsted Experiments, founded in 1904, has also collected donations amounting to £3300 and annual subscriptions of nearly £150. This Society has recently been Incorporated under the Board of Trade, thus giving it the power to hold money in trust for the purposes of the Rothamsted Experiments.
During the year a scheme has been published from the Board of Agriculture for the encouragement of Agricultural Research with funds provided by the Development Commission, and this scheme contemplates the establishment or assistance of a certain number of institutes for fundamental research, each dealing with one great branch of the subject. The Rothamsted Experimental Station is recognised as the Institute for dealing with Soil and Plant Nutrition problems.
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