Journal of Botany : British and Foreign, Volume 48
Octavius Corder’s botanical ‘claim to fame’ centres on the Fyfield Pea (aka : Lathyrus tuberosus) though its entry into botanical literature was recorded by his brother Thomas (1812-1873), who was a distinguished botanist and Fellow of the Linnean Society. There was debate as to the ‘origins’ of the pea – for example, was it introduced through ballast.
Thomas Corder, the father of Thomas and Octavius, was a farmer in Essex – and Octavius was born at Widford Hall : January 19th 1829. His birth is recorded in the records of The Society of Friends. Though he held the tenancy of a farm at Fyfield Hall in the 1860’s , he had trained as a pharmaceutical chemist in Chelsea (Sloane Square), under the direction of Robert Alsop (sic).
Octavius married Emma Spence in March 1854, but she died in 1855 (tuberculosis?). His second marriage was to Margaret Ann Hall in February 1858 – and they had a number of children (10?). In 1861, he was resident at Fyfield Hall, Essex and described as a farmer, working 290 (?) acres and employing nine men and three boys. But by 1871, he had moved to London Street, Norwich and was working as a pharmaceutical chemist. In 1881, the census records him at Swan Lane, Bedford Street, St Andrews, Norwich. In 1884, he was appointed an examiner for the Pharmaceutical Society (in Botany) and he took on apprentices.
He was elected to membership of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Society in 1873, serving on the council in 1882, and President in 1890 ??. He died at Brundell (just outside Norwich) in January, 1910.
Some Corder specimens have appeared on H@H : click here