Millfield Nursery

Agricultural building in/near Queen’s Park, 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


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CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE LOCALITY


Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 08:59 GMT   

Spigurnell Road, N17
I was born and lived in Spigurnell Road no 32 from 1951.My father George lived in Spigurnell Road from 1930’s.When he died in’76 we moved to number 3 until I got married in 1982 and moved to Edmonton.Spigurnell Road was a great place to live.Number 32 was 2 up 2 down toilet out the back council house in those days

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LATEST LONDON-WIDE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT

Comment
Jonathan Penner   
Added: 11 Sep 2021 16:03 GMT   

Pennard Road, W12
My wife and I, young Canadians, lodged at 65 (?) Pennard Road with a fellow named Clive and his girlfriend, Melanie, for about 6 months in 1985. We loved the area and found it extremely convenient.

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Comment
   
Added: 1 Sep 2021 16:58 GMT   

Prefabs!
The "post-war detached houses" mentioned in the description were "prefabs" - self-contained single-storey pre-fabricated dwellings. Demolition of houses on the part that became Senegal Fields was complete by 1964 or 1965.

Source: Prefabs in the United Kingdom - Wikipedia

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Comment
Matthew Moggridge ([email protected])   
Added: 1 Sep 2021 10:38 GMT   

Lord Chatham’s Ride (does it even exist?)
Just to say that I cycled from my home in Sanderstead to Knockholt Pound at the weekend hoping to ride Lord Chatham’s Ride, but could I find it? No. I rode up Chevening Lane, just past the Three Horseshoes pub and when I reached the end of the road there was a gate and a sign reading "Private, No Entry". I assumed this was the back entrance to Chevening House, country retreat of the Foreign Secretary, and that Lord Chatham’s Ride was inside the grounds. At least that’s what I’m assuming as I ended up following a footpath that led me into some woods with loads of rooted pathways, all very annoying. Does Lord Chatham’s Ride exist and if so, can I ride it, or is it within the grounds of Chevening House and, therefore, out of bounds? Here’s an account of my weekend ride with images, see URL below.

Source: No Visible Lycra: Lord Chatham’s ride: a big disappointmen

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Comment
norma brown   
Added: 20 Aug 2021 21:12 GMT   

my grandparents lived there as well as 2 further generations
my home

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Comment
Ruth   
Added: 6 Aug 2021 13:31 GMT   

Cheltenham Road, SE15
Harris Girls’ Academy, in Homestall Road, just off Cheltenham Road, was formerly Waverley School. Before that it was built as Honor Oak Girls’ Grammar School. It was also the South London Emergency School during WW2,taking girls from various schools in the vicinity, including those returning from being evacuated.

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Comment
Jude Allen   
Added: 29 Jul 2021 07:53 GMT   

Bra top
I jave a jewelled item of clothong worn by a revie girl.
It is red with diamante straps. Inside it jas a label Bermans Revue 16 Orange Street but I cannot find any info online about the revue only that 16 Orange Street used to be a theatre. Does any one know about the revue. I would be intesrested to imagine the wearer of the article and her London life.

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Comment
Kathleen   
Added: 28 Jul 2021 09:12 GMT   

Dunloe Avenue, N17
I was born in 1951,my grandparents lived at 5 Dunloe Avenue.I had photos of the coronation decorations in the area for 1953.The houses were rented out by Rowleys,their ’workers yard’ was at the top of Dunloe Avenue.The house was fairly big 3 bedroom with bath and toilet upstairs,and kitchenette downstairs -a fairly big garden.My Grandmother died 1980 and the house was taken back to be rented again

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Comment
Lewis   
Added: 27 Jul 2021 20:48 GMT   

Ploy
Allotment

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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.


Queen’s Park

Queen’s Park lies between Kilburn and Kensal Green, developed from 1875 onwards and named to honour Queen Victoria.

The north of Queen’s Park formed part of the parish of Willesden and the southern section formed an exclave of the parish of Chelsea, both in the Ossulstone hundred of Middlesex. In 1889 the area of the Metropolitan Board of Works that included the southern section of Queen’s Park was transferred from Middlesex to the County of London, and in 1900 the anomaly of being administered from Chelsea was removed when the exclave was united with the parish of Paddington. In 1965 both parts of Queen’s Park became part of Greater London: the northern section - Queen’s Park ’proper’ formed part of Brent and the southern section - the Queen’s Park Estate - joined the City of Westminster.

Queen’s Park, like much of Kilburn, was developed by Solomon Barnett. The two-storey terraced houses east of the park, built between 1895 and 1900, typically have clean, classical lines. Those west of the park, built 1900–05, tend to be more Gothic in style. Barnett’s wife was from the West Country, and many of the roads he developed are named either for places she knew (e.g. Torbay, Tiverton, Honiton) or for popular poets of the time (e.g. Tennyson). The first occupants of the area in late Victorian times were typically lower middle class, such as clerks and teachers. Queen’s Park is both demographically and architecturally diverse. The streets around the park at the heart of Queen’s Park are a conservation area.

There is hardly any social housing in the streets around Queens Park itself, and the area was zoned as not suitable for social housing in the 1970s and 1980s as even then house prices were above average for the borough of Brent, which made them unaffordable for local Housing Associations. The main shopping streets of Salusbury Road and Chamberlayne Road have fewer convenience stores and more high-value shops and restaurants. Local schools – some of which struggled to attract the children of wealthier local families in the past – are now over-subscribed. House prices have risen accordingly.

Queen’s Park station was first opened by the London and North Western Railway on 2 June 1879 on the main line from London to Birmingham.

Services on the Bakerloo line were extended from Kilburn Park to Queen’s Park on 11 February 1915. On 10 May 1915 Bakerloo services began to operate north of Queen’s Park as far as Willesden Junction over the recently built Watford DC Line tracks shared with the LNWR.


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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