Volume 1, 2008, pp 265-294
Date: 14 Jun 2008

Bateson's Bulldog

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Bateson had many disciples, but was never himself of their number.

J. B. S. Haldane [1]

Of all the members of the rapidly growing Bateson School, the most stalwart and influential was the unflappable Charles Chamberlain Hurst (1870–1947), who inherited a flourishing nursery business at Burbage in Leicestershire. In the sense that there may be an enduring bond between comrades who have stood together under fire, so the friendship between these two leaders of Mendelism in England stood the test of time. Indeed, the largest single item in Bateson's surviving correspondence is that with Hurst. The fact that the correspondence began to tail off around 1910 signifies, not disenchantment, but victory in the Mendelian battle, increased usage of the telephone, and Hurst's war duties.

Hurst's intention to read Natural Sciences at Cambridge had been thwarted by ill health – possibly tuberculosis – from which he recovered. He became a member of the RHS (1891) and soon gained a reputation, both practi