Millfield Nursery

Agriculture buildings in Southgate, existing until 1920

Click here to log in on Facebook Advanced
MAPPING YEAR:1750180018301860190019302017Fullscreen map
Agriculture buildings · Southgate · N18 · Contributed by The Underground Map
Click to enlarge image.

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
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.

Samuel South & Sons

Millfield Nursery news feed:

Add a comment about Millfield Nursery.
Please enter your name:
Enter the information you wish to add to Millfield Nursery:
Small print: Ensure that comments are kept civilised and are not abusive. We store your IP address and reserve the right to apply bans where community standards are violated.
Please prove that you are a human by typing the text that you see in the picture below.
Refresh Image

The 1750 Rocque map is bounded by Sudbury (NW), Snaresbrook (NE), Eltham (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1750 map does not display.

The 1800 mapping is bounded by Stanmore (NW), Woodford (NE), Bromley (SE) and Hampton Court (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1800 map does not display.

The 1830 mapping is bounded by West Hampstead (NW), Hackney (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Chelsea (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1830 map does not display.

The 1860 mapping is bounded by Brent Cross (NW), Stratford (NE), Greenwich (SE) and Hammermith (SW).
Outside these bounds, the 1860 map does not display.

The 1900 mapping covers all of the London area.


 Upload an image
You can add an image to this location if you are logged into our Facebook app.
 Add new information to this location
You can add text to this location if you are logged into our Facebook app.
 Log on via Facebook
You can use a Facebook id to add material to this website.

Go to Southgate



Amersham Avenue, N18 · Ash Grove, N13 · Ashfield Parade, N14 · Ashley Gardens, N13 · Berkshire Gardens, N13 · Bolton Road, N18 · Bridport Road, N18 · Bull Lane, N18 · Bulwer Road, N18 · Callard Avenue, N13 · Carlton Terrace, N18 · Cheapside, N13 · Chequers Parade, N13 · Cherry Blossom Close, N13 · Clock House Parade, E11 · Clock House Parade, N13 · Commercial Road, N18 · Copperfield Mews, N18 · Dennis Parade, N14 · Denton Road, N18 · Devonia Gardens, N18 · Dickens Lane, N18 · Dorchester Avenue, N13 · Ecclesbourne Gardens, N13 · Empire Avenue, N18 · Empire Parade, N18 · Exchange Garages, N13 · Firs Lane, N13 · Grenoble Gardens, N13 · Harington Terrace, N18 · Harlow Road, N13 · Haselbury Road, N18 · Hawthorn Road, N18 · Hazel Close, N13 · Hazelwood Court, N13 · Hazelwood Lane, N13 · Hedge Lane, N13 · Huxley Parade, N18 · Huxley Road, N18 · Kendal Parade, N18 · Kenmare Gardens, N13 · Lancaster Road, N18 · Left Side Station Parade, N14 · Lightcliffe Road, N13 · Lopen Road, N18 · Madeira Road, N13 · Mapledurham Court, N13 · Morton Way, N14 · Munster Gardens, N13 · New Park Avenue, N13 · Norfolk Avenue, N13 · North Circular Road, N13 · North Circular Road, NW9 · Oakthorpe Estate, N13 · Oakthorpe Road, N13 · Osborne Road, N13 · Osbourne Road, N13 · Park Avenue, N13 · Parkside Terrace, N18 · Pasteur Gardens, N18 · Petersfield Close, N18 · Pickwick Mews, N18 · Pretoria Road North, N18 · Princes Avenue, N13 · Queensland Avenue, N18 · Rayleigh Road, N13 · Regents Avenue, N13 · Riverway, N13 · Rylston Road, N13 · Shaftesbury Road, N18 · Shortlands Close, N18 · Shortlands Road, W6 · Sidney Avenue, N13 · Silver Street, N18 · Station Parade, N14 · Sterling Way, N18 · The Fairway, N13 · The Grove, N13 · The Larches, N13 · The Rowans, N13 · Tile Kiln Lane, N13 · Tottenhall Road, N13 · Ulster Gardens, N13 · Upsdell Avenue, N13 · Warwick Road, N18 · Watermill Lane, N18 · Weir Hall Road, N18 · Wentworth Gardens, N13 · Westerham Avenue, N9 · Wilbury Way, N18 · Windmill Road, N18 · Windsor Road, N13 · Winsford Terrace, N18 ·



Print-friendly version of this page


Hidden London
Histor­ically inclined look at the capital’s obscure attractions
Edith’s Streets
A wander through London, street by street
All-encompassing website
British History Online
Digital library of key printed primary and secondary sources.
Time Out
Listings magazine


Ordnance Survey of the London region (1939) FREE DOWNLOAD
Ordnance Survey colour map of the environs of London 1:10,560 scale
Ordnance Survey. Crown Copyright 1939.

Outer London (1901) FREE DOWNLOAD
Outer London shown in red, City of London in yellow. Relief shown by hachures.
Stanford's Geographical Establishment. London : Edward Stanford, 26 & 27, Cockspur St., Charing Cross, S.W. (1901)

Unless a source is explicitedly stated, text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. Articles may be a remixes of various Wikipedia articles plus work by the website authors - original Wikipedia source can generally be accessed under the same name as the main title. This does not affect its Creative Commons attribution.

Maps upon this website are in the public domain because they are mechanical scans of public domain originals, or – from the available evidence – are so similar to such a scan or photocopy that no copyright protection can be expected to arise. The originals themselves are in public domain for the following reason:
Public domain Maps used are in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighbouring rights.

This tag is designed for use where there may be a need to assert that any enhancements (eg brightness, contrast, colour-matching, sharpening) are in themselves insufficiently creative to generate a new copyright. It can be used where it is unknown whether any enhancements have been made, as well as when the enhancements are clear but insufficient. For usage, see Commons:When to use the PD-scan tag.