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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... 

Cucumbers

For many years cucumbers have played an important role within the Lea Valley nurseries. The Rochford`s were experienced growers, with Tom II in particular cultivating considerable amounts during the Great War. When Joseph Rochford began his new life in Turnford in 1882 his only competition was one other market grower, a gentleman named Thomas Hamilton who grew cucumbers. Today cucumber production remains... 

Covent Garden Market

The 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... 

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... 

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... 

Appeal to contributors

The producers of the Lea Valley Nursery programme are eager to hear from anyone who has cine film or photographs that might be of interest. Alongside interviews with a number of nurseries and Thomas Rochford himself, we will also be including the memories of former nursery workers. If you are happy to speak on camera and have a story to tell we would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact John...