Peter C.M. Veitch (1850-1924)
As a traveller and collector, Peter Veitch had mixed success, though under his management of the family firm, the business prospered. In one expedition to the Fiji Islands, Peter lost his entire collection in a gale, and later suffered a similar misfortune travelling from Australia to New Guinea, when his collection was lost as a result of a shipwreck. He also accompanied F.W. Burbidge on several of his travels before returning to Chelsea with his collection in 1878.
After travelling extensively, and with experience of Nurseries in Germany and France, as well as the London branch of the Veitch firm, Peter joined his father in managing the Exeter firm in 1880. The firm became formally known as Robert Veitch & Son until 1885, when upon his father’s death Peter became head of the business. He became a great influence to the Exeter firm. It began to specialize in trees and shrubs, reflecting his particular interests. Nevertheless, Peter had a wide knowledge of all plants, accumulated from his experiences in various nurseries and extensive travels. Outside the business, he was also prominent within the city, becoming a Governor of the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. Peter was the second member of the Veitch family to receive a Victoria Medal of Honour, which was awarded to him in 1917.