Lea Valley Nurseries | The Lea Valley Nursery Industry

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Lea Valley Nurseries

rochfords-grapesBy the 1930s the Lea Valley had a higher concentration of greenhouses than anywhere else in the world. Below are just three examples of the companies who helped make this happen:

No programme on the Lea Valley nursery industry would be complete without the inclusion of the Rochford family. Michael Rochford, the father of Thomas, Joseph and Edward, left Ireland in 1840 and developed his skills as a gentleman`s gardener here in England. By 1860 he owned his own nursery in Tottenham, inspiring his sons to follow him into the trade. In 1882 Joseph moved to Turnford, followed by Thomas and Edmund in 1887. Thomas would go on to own one of the largest nurseries in the whole district and the Rochford`s became world leaders in the production of house plants.

Whilst the Rochford`s were flying high with their house plants the Stevens family were earning international fame for their roses. The quality of the Steven`s produce was so high that boxes of their cut roses were flown out to Paris in the 1930`s. In 1934 they were even chosen to supply the flowers for the wedding of Princess Marina and the Duke of Kent.

George Rooke
The nurseries of George Rooke were a prime example of a business founded on hard work and perseverance. Having taken over a nursery in Tottenham with his business partner and brother in law Harry Cull, Rooke soon came up against some difficulties when the Great Eastern Railway built sidings and a goods yard nearby. The accompanying soot wreaked havoc on the nurseries plants, and on the suggestion of Thomas Rochford the partners sued the railway company, winning compensation. In 1902 Rooke moved to Cheshunt and whilst his nurseries were comparatively small, he still managed to carry them through the difficult wartime years.

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