Scope and Content

Consists of file of papers concerning Sir Donald Ferguson's Grassland [Improvement Committee, Ministry of Agriculture] 1939-1940; lectures, speeches and articles [1943-1961]; biographical material 1943-1961

Administrative / Biographical History

R.G. Stapledon's main interest in agricultural science was the improvement of grassland and the development of improved grass and clover varieties. He joined the staff of the Royal Agricultural College, Cirencester in 1910. In 1912 he was appointed Adviser in Agricultural Botany at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, subsequently beginning a systematic ecological survey of the grasslands of the Welsh hills. At the outbreak of the First World War he was appointed to the newly established Food Production Department, advising on the ploughing up and reseeding of old grassland. On the establishment of the first official Seed Testing Station he was appointed its director. In 1938 with William Davies and others, he made a comprehensive survey of the grassland of England and Wales. The Grassland Improvement Station at Dodwell near Stratford on Avon was established by the Ministry of Agriculture at his suggestion.

Stapledon retired from the Seed Testing Station at the end of World War II; he subsequently joined a large commercial seed producer in Wiltshire as scientific adviser, later becoming director.

Among his many achievements was the foundation of the Grassland Society. His publications include Land, Now and Tomorrow (1935), Hill Lands of Britain (1937), Ley Farming (1941), Way of the Land (1943).


  • D77/29/A1-10 Reports and memoranda
  • D77/29/B1-5 Lectures, speeches and articles
  • D77/29/C1-3 Biographical

Access Information

Available for consultation

Acquisition Information

Accession number D77/29


Compiled by Zoe Watson, April 2004

Other Finding Aids

A detailed catalogue is available at the Museum of English Rural Life

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