Celebrating its 250th year in 2009, RBG Kew
was founded in 1759 by Princess Augusta, mother of King George
III. In 1802 George III united the royal estates of Kew, Richmond,
and property along the river Thames into the beginnings of the
Gardens we know today spanning 120 hectares (300 acres).
In 1840 the direction of Kew began to change
significantly as it became a national botanical garden. Director
William Hooker, with famed explorer and naturalist Sir Joseph
Banks, expanded the gardens role from simple collection
and display of specimens to principal center of scientific and
economic botany for England and its colonies.
The Pagoda is the oldest of Kews
structures, built in 1762. It is ten
stories, nearly 50m (163), tall.