In 1673 the Society of Apothecaries of London founded a physick garden at Chelsea so that their apprentices could learn to grow medicinal plants and study their uses. At the time Chelsea was already famed for its market gardens, and while the garden struggled in the early years, by 1685 the diarist John Evelyn described the heated glass-house, which it thought to be the first in Europe. In 1712 Dr Hans Sloane bought the Manor of Chelsea, along with the freehold of the garden. He had studied in the garden in his youth and was sympathetic to the Apothecaries, to whom he granted a lease on the land for a rent of £5 a year in perpetuity, on condition it be for ever kept and maintained as a physick garden.
In 1983 the garden became an independent charity, and is now open to the public (see www.chelseaphysicgarden.co.uk)
(Nearest tube Sloane Square.)