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The Lea Valley Nursery Industry

Harris Digital Productions starts work on a film about the history of the Lea Valley Nursery Industry. From as early as the 18th century the Lea Valley was famed for its market gardens, producing plants, fruits and vegetables which were sold at London markets and beyond. The skill of many Lea Valley growers was to become legendary as they grew produce which rivalled the best in the world. Exploring... 

The Pineapple

The pineapple is a prime example of the exotic fruits which were grown in English nurseries. Originating from Paraguay and the Southern parts of Brazil, the pineapple became an extremely popular fruit in English markets and was readily associated with wealth and extravagance. The pineapple was so popular at Covent Garden Market it even became the sites emblem. Whilst there is some debate as to when... 

The Great Eastern Railway

The Great Eastern Railway was formed in 1862 having amalgamated with the Eastern Counties Railway and a number of smaller railways. Its development would have a profound effect on three main types of traveller; the commuter, the agriculturalist and those going on holiday. London was now more accessible than ever and villages such as Tottenham quickly developed into bustling suburbs. Whilst this sudden... 

Tomatoes during the War

Whilst all of the nurseries specialized in their own personal produce the outbreak of World War 2 was to force all of the growers in the same direction. The days of roses and grapes were over as the government introduced new legislation banning the production of non-essential produce. Tomatoes were now the crop of choice and it was up to the growers, regardless of any problems they might have faced,... 

Lea Valley Nurseries

By 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: Rochford`s 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... 

Land Girls

A shortage in strong, male workers was one of the many problems faced by the nurseries following the outbreak of war. A number of companies solved this issue by hiring Land Girls, those trusted female recruits from the Women`s Land Army who were willing to step in and do the jobs usually reserved for men. These determined women helped to ensure that life on “The Home Front” was as normal as possible,...