Christopher Edmund Broome (1812 - 1886) - a brief biography

Born on 24th July 1812 in the historic market town of Berkhamsted, in the Chiltern Hills some 40km northwest of London, Christopher Edmund Broome was the son of a solicitor. After benefiting from private schooling in Kensington, in 1832 he was sent to read for Holy Orders with the curate of Swaffham Prior, in Cambridgeshire; however, Broome soon decided against entering the ministry, and later that year he enrolled on a degree course at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, graduating in 1836. For most of his adult life Broome lived just outside Batheaston, some 3km from Bath.

Initially at Swaffham but most significantly via his friendship with Bristol entomologist and botanist George Henry Kendrick Thwaites (1811 - 1882), Broome developed an interest and expertise in fungi, and in particular truffles. He collected many fungi specimens, which he sent to Rev. Miles Joseph Berkeley, and jointly over a period of 37 years they published a series of 'Notices of British Fungi', describing some 550 new species.

Christopher Edmund Broome died at Elmhurst, near Batheaston, England on 15th November 1886.

In his obituary in the Journal of Botany, Broome was described as having '...quiet unassuming manners, his extreme modesty in all scientific matters and his universal kindness and geniality endeared him to all who knew him.'

The abbreviation Broome is used to indicate Christopher Edmund Broome as the author when citing a botanical or mycological name.

Positions and Awards

M.A. Cambridge, 1836

Fellow of the Linnean Society, 1866

Co-founder, Bath Natural History & Antiquarian Field Club, 1855

Major Mycological Works

Together with British mycologist Rev. Miles Joseph Berkeley, over a period of 37 years Broome published a series of 'Notices of British Fungi' in which some 550 new species were described.

Selected Sources:

Brief Biographies of British Mycologists; Geoffrey C. Ainsworth (Edited by John Webster and David Moore); BMS 1996.

Murray, G. (1887). Christopher Edmund Broome. Journal of Botany 25: 148-150.

Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2007 [e-book]. ISBN 0-684-31559-9.

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