Our libraries support thousands of researchers every year and our collection is one of the best resources in the world for research into the history, science, art and practice of horticulture.

The materials in the RHS Libraries are held in either our lending, reference or special collections. You need to make an appointment to see any material held in one of our reference and special collections. These include all archives, artworks, nursery catalogues, rare books, pamphlets, 19th Century periodicals and some of our specialist current periodicals. Due to the age, fragility and rarity of these works we do not transfer them between our libraries, so you need to make an appointment at the right library.

RHS Digital Collections

Over the past few years, the RHS Libraries team has been working hard to document and digitise our unique collections so we can share them online. With thanks to funding from the Heritage Fund, precious and fragile items that could previously only be seen by researchers by appointment can now be shared online.

More information

Plan ahead
Please check our online catalogue before your visit to identify any books, pamphlets and periodicals that you would like to access. Please contact us to ask about our archives, art, photography and nursery catalogue collections as these are not currently searchable on our online catalogue. If you know what items from our collections you would like to see during your visit, then please let us know when you book your appointment and we will have them ready for you on your arrival. If you are unsure of what items you would like to see, then please let us know the topic you are researching and we will be happy to guide you to the best resources we hold.
Make an appointment

Lindley Library

The London library is based in our headquarters at Vincent Square, where we have a world-class collection of horticultural books, journals and botanical art.
Research appointments are available two days a week. Please use our online booking system to request an appointment.

Wisley Library

Wisley Library is based in RHS Hilltop – The Home of Gardening Science at RHS Garden Wisley and we hold unique collections of horticultural science, research as well as the Wisley garden archives.

Items held in the Archive store and the Foyle Reading room are available by appointment. Our usual appointment slots are on Tuesdays and Thursdays but please contact us if you need to visit on another day.  Please use our online booking system to request an appointment or email us at [email protected].

Harlow Carr Library

Harlow Carr Library is based in the Bramall Learning Centre at RHS Harlow Carr Garden and we hold an important practical gardening collection.

Appointments are available weekdays 11am to 4pm.

Contact us at [email protected] to make an appointment.

Register as a researcher

We ask all researchers to register to use our collections. Once registered you will be able to request access to the research collections across the RHS Libraries. Your registration remains valid for two years.

Complete the research application form and bring it with you on the day of your appointment. Please read our conditions of access and use as we ask you to sign that you are happy to agree to these conditions.

Bring identification

You will need to bring identification when registering to use the research collections.

RHS members will need to bring their RHS membership card. Non-members will need to bring two forms of identification, see the list of ID required.

Handling the collections

We ask you to handle our collections with care to help us to ensure that the precious materials we hold within our collections will be available to researchers for many years to come

Before arriving please read our guide to handling and photographing the research collections. It provides important information on handling and protecting our collections.

Staff can assist you during your visit on correct handling procedures.

Photographing for private study and research

Most material in our collection can be photographed. However, original artwork cannot.

If you do wish to take your own photographs of the research collection we ask that you complete this form and bring it with you on the day of your appointment.

Image supply service

Low resolution scans and photographs for private study or non-commercial research use can be requested from the RHS Libraries by completing a scan request form and emailing it to [email protected]

Higher-quality images intended for reproduction must be requested from the RHS Libraries. Please give as much notice as possible. Contact [email protected] for current fulfilment times and costings.

Research assistance
Our Library Guides can assist you in getting started with your research. Whether you want to research your gardening ancestor, trace the history of a plant or learn more about botanical art we have a guide for you.
Contact details

Contact the library team to make enquiries about our collections and to make appointments

Email: [email protected]

London Tel: 020 7821 3050

Wisley Tel: 01483 212428

Harlow Carr Tel: 01423 724686

Keep in touch
Get regular updates on what’s happening at our libraries by joining our newsletter mailing list and following us on Twitter.

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Further information can be found on our library pages

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.