THE story of a woman who became an authority on botany, despite having no formal training, has been unearthed in the University of York’s archive.

Catherine Rob, known as Kit, who was born at Catton Hall near Thirsk in 1906, was a formidable woman who amassed a CV that could provide inspiration today - International Women’s Day.

Kit showed a keen interest in local flora from an early age, but, unlike her brothers, she never had the opportunity to pursue a university education.

Her passion for the scientific study of plants saw her become a member of the Wild Flower Society (WFS) at just 17. She was a branch secretary until 1971.

Lydia Dean, archivist at the Borthwick Institute, the university’s specialist archives, stumbled across Kit’s papers in the trust archive.

She said: “As we mark International Women’s Day, it is wonderful to celebrate a remarkable woman who became an authority on botany despite living in a time period with limited opportunities for female scientists.” Kit died in February 1975, just before her 69th birthday.