Millfield Nursery

Agricultural building in/near Southgate, existing until the 1920s

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Agricultural building · * · N18 ·
December
7
2016

An article about "nurserymen" from Jim South written in March 1977.

The Nursery industry grew out of the market gardening that supplied London via Covent Garden. The Lea Valley was "natural" for this development. Within easy reach by horse drawn vehicles travelling by night, with "chain" horses stationed at places like Stamford Hill.

The alluvial soil that served market gardens of fruit growers was also level and suited the constructors of early "Vine" type glass houses. Water was available, boring wells was like putting a pin into a plastic pipe and, for example, ballast pits filled up as soon as they were abandoned.

Transport was well served by rail, road and canal. The main road, following roughly the Roman Ermine St. was the only access to London from much of East Anglia. The railways were built during the 19th century and the Lea canal carried coal, coke and timber. When I left Goffs Oak some coke was still carried by barge up the Lea. Until 1940 a great deal of coke came over from Belgium via this route.

Under pressure of housing and industrial developments, the industry was pushed North along the Lea Valley and while governed by horse transport it tended to congregate around an area from Cheshunt to Edmonton. When I started work at W H Cull, the produce was still taken to market in horse drawn vans. The vans, solidly built to protect delicate ferns etc, were loaded during the day. The horses were brought in, hitched and and after trudging through the night were unloaded at Covent Garden in the early morning. The carmen were often found asleep and wrapped in sacks and horse blankets as the horse took the produce to the market. Open carts that carried fruit, cucumbers and such crops often returned with loads of hay or manure from the many stables which then existed in London.

Crops under glass in the early days tended to be in the "luxury" class except for the long established bedding trade. As an aside, in 1934 bedding sold for 9d to 1/6d per box! and could be bought at "knock out time ie the end of the season for 6d per box. This year [1977] they may well be £1 box retail. Rochfords, whose first nursery was, I believe, somewhere in the region of Northumberland Park, prospered in the Edwardian era production of out of season grapes as did several other Nurserymen of this type.

The first World War gave birth to tomato growing which dominated the Lea Valley until quite recently. The "U" boat blockade meant little foreign fruit coming in and the humble Tomato hitherto a minority taste, flourished (at the turn of the century there was a scare that Tomatoes caused cancer). Tomato growing was wilting badly in the 1930-1938 period got a second chance when war came but is now shrinking year by year. Continually rising costs, particularly fuel, is killing off all but the newest and most efficient growers.

Providing glasshouse grapes went when improved transport brought foreign grapes to Covent Garden in bulk. Millfield Nursery where I worked till 1935 still had two houses of Muscatel grapes when I left. This Nursery was built by H B May, at one time a big name in the Nursery world. He built and ran three nurseries, Millfield, one in Willoughby Lane near the site of the first South Pottery in Dysons Lane, and his last at Chingford. Millfield was mainly designed for grape production originally. Each year gangs of women went from Vinery to Vinery "thinning the grapes" with scissors similar to hair scissors. The undersized and deformed grapes were cut out.

The house plant trade has come full circle, W A Cullis was entirely devoted to fern and palm growing in 1927. When I left nearly four years later geraniums were taking over as the demand for pot plants faded. Now house plants are "in" in a big way. Rochfords at Turnford have what is virtually a production line laid out to produce these. It has meant survival for such as them but not necessarily much satisfaction for "growers".

As to names of personalities:

Joseph Rochford and Morris were contemporaries. When both were in a small way of business, they agreed to attend market alternately selling each other’s produce, thus reducing the time they lost on their holding. Morris proved the better salesman, gave up growing and went on to build the George Morris of today.

J Rochford’s rise is well recorded.

H B May whom I have mentioned was so well regarded he is mentioned in a book on fern culture published, I think, in the early twenties.

Percy Stewart managed his Nursery at Willoughby Lane until he set up in partnership with Chapman. He was a friend of Uncle Charles (South) who used to call for him when I was driving Uncle around and using him as technical adviser" to grower customers with problems.

Hills ran a Nursery by Edmonton Green and later moved to Broxbourne, I believe..

The Pollards started and built up their business in the Cheshunt area as pioneers at forcing roses under glass. Later growing carnations and tomatoes under several acres of glass. Legend has it that the founder Pollard was a City merchant in the cigar trade. He had a gardener who mastered the art of forcing roses. Old Pollard wore a fresh rose in his buttonhole each day the year round. This caused such comment he saw the possibility of commercial exploitation and never looked back.

Jo Stanbrooke at Goffs Oak moved out of North London. King Bros of Church St Edmonton (High class bedding).

Knight of Montague Lane later, Hoe St, Enfield.

Ripleys of Waltham Cross had two Nurseries but being Tomato and Cucumber growers were not big customers for pots.

Fairhurst, Thrustles, Charlie May, Finchams both father and son, Morgans, Hansen, are some of the names I remember in the Goffs Oak, Cuffley area.

Stuart Lows had, at one time, time, heir principal Nursery At Bush Hill Park. Amongst other crops they grew orchids.

Written by Jim South, March 1977.


Main source: Samuel South & Sons
Further citations and sources




CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY

None so far :(
LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

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Peter H Davies   
Added: 17 Jun 2021 09:33 GMT   

Ethelburga Estate
The Ethelburga Estate - named after Ethelburga Road - was an LCC development dating between 1963–65. According to the Wikipedia, it has a "pleasant knitting together of a series of internal squares". I have to add that it’s extremely dull :)

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Lived here
Norman Norrington   
Added: 8 Jun 2021 08:08 GMT   

Blechynden Street, W10
Lived here #40 1942-1967

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Brenda Newton   
Added: 5 Jun 2021 07:17 GMT   

Hewer Street W10
John Nodes Undertakers Hewer Street W10

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Added: 3 Jun 2021 15:50 GMT   

All Bar One
The capitalisation is wrong

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Added: 2 Jun 2021 16:58 GMT   

Parachute bomb 1941
Charles Thomas Bailey of 82 Morley Road was killed by the parachute bomb March 1941

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Added: 1 Jun 2021 12:41 GMT   

Abbeville Road (1940 street directory)
North west side
1A Clarke A S Ltd, motor engineers
15 Plumbers, Glaziers & Domestic Engineers Union
25 Dixey Edward, florist
27 Vicary Miss Doris J, newsagent
29 Stenning John Andrew, dining rooms
31 Clarke & Williams, builders
33 Hill Mrs Theodora, confectioner
35 Golding W & sons, corn dealers
... here is Shandon road ...
37 Pennington Mrs Eliz Harvie, wine & spirit merchant
39 Westminster Catering Co Ltd, ham, beef & tongue dealers
41 Masters A (Clapham) Ltd, butchers
43 Thomas Euan Ltd, grocers
45 Garrett C T & Co Ltd, undertakers
47 Mayle T & Sons, fishmongers
49 Mayles Ltd, fruiterers
51 & 73 Hardy Arthur Sydney, draper
53 United Dairies (London) Ltd
... here is Narbonne avenue ...
55 Norris William Lennox, baker
57 Silver Star Laundry Ltd
59 Thorp John, oilman
61 Bidgood Leonard George, boot makers
63 Wilkie Rt Miln, chemist
65 Gander George Albert Isaac, hairdresser
67 Harris Alfred William, greengrocer
69 & 71 Lambert Ernest & Son Ltd, grocers
... here is Hambolt road ...
73 & 51 Hardy Arthur Sydney, draper
75 Cambourn Frederick, butcher
77 Siggers Clement, chemist
77 Post, Money Order, Telephone Call & Telegraph Office & Savings Bank
79 Hemmings William, baker
... here is Elms road ...
85 Cornish Joseph
91 Bedding Mrs
151 Johnson Mrs H K
157 Robinson Albert Ernest, grainer
173 Yardleys London & Provincial Stores Ltd, wine & spirit merchants
175 Clark Alfred, butcher
175A Morley Douglas Frederick, confectioner
... here is Crescent lane ...
... her is St Alphonsus road ...

South east side
... here is Trouville road ...
4 Bossy Miss, private school
... here are Bonneville gardens ...
24 Osborn Charles Edward, ladies hairdresser
24 Hall H Ltd, builders
24A Walton Lodge Laundry Ltd
... here are Shandon road & Abbeville mansions ...
28 Copley Fred Smith, chemist
30 Finch H G Ltd, laundry
32 Carter William Alfred, furniture dealer
34 Spriggs Charles & Co, wireless supplies dealer
36 Miles Frederick William, confectioner
38 Pitman Frederick, hairdresser
40 Rowe Frederick F, valeting service
42 Modridge Edward J, oilman
... here is Narbonne avenue ...
44 Southorn Albert, butcher
46 Brown Ernest, fruiterer
48 Stanley Mrs A A, confectioner
50 Fryatt Owen, delixatessen store
52 Benbrooks, domestic stores
54 Davis William Clifford, boot repairer
56 Blogg Alfred, newsagent
58 Rowlands Thomas & Sons, dairy
... here are Hambalt, Elms, Franconia, Caldervale & Leppoc roads ...
124 Clarke Frederick, decorator
... here are Crescent lane, Briarwood road & Park hill ...

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Boo Horton    
Added: 31 May 2021 13:39 GMT   

Angel & Trumpet, Stepney Green
The Angel & Trumpet Public House in Stepney Green was run by my ancestors in the 1930’s. Unfortunately, it was a victim on WWII and was badly damaged and subsequently demolished. I have one photograph that I believe to bethe pub, but it doesn’t show much more that my Great Aunt cleaning the steps.

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MCNALLY    
Added: 17 May 2021 09:42 GMT   

Blackfriars (1959 - 1965)
I lived in Upper Ground from 1959 to 1964 I was 6 years old my parents Vince and Kitty run the Pub The Angel on the corner of Upper Ground and Bodies Bridge. I remember the ceiling of the cellar was very low and almost stretched the length of Bodies Bridge. The underground trains run directly underneath the pub. If you were down in the cellar when a train was coming it was quite frightening

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NEARBY LOCATIONS OF NOTE
Millfield Nursery An article about "nurserymen" from Jim South written in March 1977.

NEARBY STREETS
Beckenham Gardens, N9 Beckenham Gardens is a road in the N9 postcode area
Briar Close, N13 Briar Close is a road in the N13 postcode area
Bromley Road, N18 Bromley Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Bulwer Road, N18 Bulwer Road is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Carlton Terrace, N18 Carlton Terrace is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Cheapside, N18 Cheapside is one of the streets of London in the N13 postal area.
Cheddington Road, N18 Cheddington Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Coniscliffe Road, N13 Coniscliffe Road is a road in the N13 postcode area
Copperfield Mews, N18 Copperfield Mews is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Florin Court, N18 Florin Court is a road in the N18 postcode area
Franlaw Crescent, N13 Franlaw Crescent is a road in the N13 postcode area
Great Cambridge Road, N18 Great Cambridge Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Great Cambridge Road, N18 Great Cambridge Road is a road in the N13 postcode area
Hailsham Terrace, N18 Hailsham Terrace is a location in London.
Harington Terrace, N18 Harington Terrace is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Haselbury Road, N18 Haselbury Road is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Hazel Close, N13 Hazel Close is one of the streets of London in the N13 postal area.
Hazel Close, N13 Hazel Close is a road in the SE15 postcode area
Hazelbury Lane, N9 Hazelbury Lane is a road in the N9 postcode area
Henley Road, N18 Henley Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Hewish Road, N18 A street within the N18 postcode
Hinton Road, N18 Hinton Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Huxley Road, N18 Huxley Road is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Kendal Avenue, N18 Kendal Avenue is a road in the N18 postcode area
Kendal Gardens, N18 Kendal Gardens is a road in the N18 postcode area
Kendal Parade, N18 Kendal Parade is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Keston Close, N18 Keston Close is a road in the N18 postcode area
Lopen Road, N18 Lopen Road is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Millfield House, N18 Millfield House is a location in London.
Morecambe Terrace, N18 A street within the N18 postcode
Myrtle Road, N13 A street within the N13 postcode
New Park Avenue, N13 New Park Avenue is one of the streets of London in the N13 postal area.
New Park Avenue, N13 New Park Avenue is a road in the N18 postcode area
North Circular Road, N18 North Circular Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Oakfield Gardens, N18 Oakfield Gardens took its name from a house called Oakfield which was originally opposite the present development.
Oakfield Gardens, N18 Oakfield Gardens is a road in the N18 postcode area
Orpington Gardens, N18 Orpington Gardens is a road in the N18 postcode area
Ostliffe Road, N18 Ostliffe Road is a road in the N18 postcode area
Park Lane, N18 Park Lane is a road in the N18 postcode area
Parkside Terrace, N18 Parkside Terrace is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Pembroke Road, N13 Pembroke Road is a road in the N13 postcode area
Rylston Road, N13 Rylston Road is one of the streets of London in the N13 postal area.
Selhurst Road, N9 Selhurst Road is a road in the N9 postcode area
Shortlands Close, N18 Shortlands Close is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Shortlands Road, N18 Shortlands Road is a street in Hammersmith.
Silver Street, N18 Silver Street is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Statham Grove, N18 Statham Grove is a road in the N18 postcode area
Strand Place, N18 Strand Place is a road in the N18 postcode area
Tanners End Lane, N18 Tanners End Lane is a location in London.
Taplow Road, N18 Taplow Road is a road in the N13 postcode area
The Fairway, N18 The Fairway is a road in the N9 postcode area
Tuncombe Road, N18 Tuncombe Road is a location in London.
Weir Hall Gardens, N18 A street within the N18 postcode
West Way, N18 West Way is a road in the N18 postcode area
Westerham Avenue, N9 Westerham Avenue is one of the streets of London in the N9 postal area.
Windmill Road, N18 Windmill Road is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.
Winsford Terrace, N18 Winsford Terrace is one of the streets of London in the N18 postal area.

NEARBY PUBS
The Bull This pub existed immediately prior to the 2020 global pandemic and may still do so.


Southgate

Southgate village originated as a tiny hamlet, which grew up in the north-west corner of Edmonton parish, along the southern boundary of Enfield Chase.

The name derived from the south gate of Enfield Chase, which stood roughly where Chase Road now joins Winchmore Hill Road. The area was originally very heavily wooded, with large estates of oak coppice woods; the last remains of the woodland can be seen in Grovelands Park. Enfield Chase was enclosed in 1777. On the 1803 enclosure map, the settlement is called Chase Side after its main thoroughfare, and what is now Southgate Green is called Southgate. On this map, the four roads which form the crossroads – Chase Side, Bourneside, Chase Road and High Street – are quite densely developed near the junction, with long narrow frontage plots and more generous larger houses in substantial grounds.

Much of the land formed part of the large Grovelands and Arnos estates. The early railways in the mid 19th century gave Southgate a wide berth because of its hilly terrain and, until the arrival of the Piccadilly line extension, the nearest station to Southgate town centre was Palmers Green, built in 1871 and with a horse-bus link to Southgate town centre.

Southgate station opened on 13 March 1933 with Oakwood on the second phase of the northern extension of the Piccadilly line from Finsbury Park to Cockfosters. Prior to the station’s opening, alternative names were suggested including ’Chase Side’ and ’Southgate Central’. On opening, local residents were given a free return ticket to Piccadilly Circus


LOCAL PHOTOS
Great Cambridge Road Roundabout (1932)
TUM image id: 1603467811
Licence: CC BY 2.0

In the neighbourhood...

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Great Cambridge Road Roundabout (1932)
Licence: CC BY 2.0
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