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Covent Garden Market

covent-garden-marketThe Lea Valley was a prime location for nurseries, not least because of the areas relative closeness to Covent Garden Market. The likes of the Rochford`s took full advantage of this factor, selling some of their finest produce which in the early days was brought down on a horse and wagon. It was at Covent Garden Market that Michael Rochford (1819-83) sold his beloved Black Hamburgh, a grape of such distinction that many classed them as the best in the country.

Covent Garden’s history is as fascinating as it is lengthy, stretching back as far as the 1st century AD when the Roman`s inhabited the area. The site later formed the kitchen garden for the Convent of St Peter at Westminster, hence how it derived its name. The monks who tended the gardens grew a range of fruit and vegetables, laying the foundations of a trade for which Covent Garden would be famed. From the mid 17th century onwards fruit and vegetable stalls began to thrive in the sites piazza (designed by the architect Inigo Jones), with traders selling everything from exotic fruits to exquisite flowers.

The Lea Valley Nursery Industry programme will explore in detail just how important Covent Garden was to the Lea Valley growers, and bring to life the excitement and rivalry felt by these men during a day at the market.

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