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f o e v o l e h t r o F

e c u t t e L

Memories, Anecdotes, Photographs and Commissions inspired by Melbourne’s Market Gardens.

THANK YOU... FOR THE LOVE OF LETTUCE has been a collaboration between Melbourne Festival, People Express and Talking Birds, on a project funded by The Heritage Lottery Fund working with local Market Gardeners, past and present and a number of professional artists. We would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported For the Love of Lettuce by sharing their memories and their time and to the artists and organisations who have supported us.

“For the Love of Lettuce� was coordinated and curated by Sharon Brown on behalf of Melbourne Festival.

Heritage Lottery Fund Melbourne Festival People Express Talking Birds Christopher Mear Emma Pegg Ross Danby Stephen Parker DZR Rosie Clements Alistair Gentry Dwane Reads Origin Design Onesystem Limited Heaths of Melbourne F. Jacksons & Son W. Sharp and Sons Swarkestone Nursery National Forest Spring Water Melbourne Historical Research Group

Memories, Anecdotes and Photographs shared by Christine Astle Irene Brown Dennis Collyer Michael Dawson Lorraine Dowell Roy Dunnicliffe Brenda Earp Colin Earp June Ferguson Pam Gill Jean Grimley Margaret Hall Ken Hatton Rob Hatton Brian Heath Eric Heath Frank Heath Lisa Heath Margaret Heath Barry Hopkinson Andrew Jackson Glynes Jackson Graham Jackson Jake Jackson

Jane Jackson Jenny Jackson John Jackson Margaret Jackson Richard Jackson Teresa Johnson William MacLachlan Barry Nadin Susan Olumide Sophia Patchett Jose Raine Grace Ryle Bill Sharp Colin Sharp Margaret Sharp Martin Sharp Carol Simpson Annette Soar John Statham Geraldine Timmins John Twells Jane Winters Lynn Woods Peter Worrall

And the Archive of Melbourne Historical Research Group

talking birds pictures, projects & thoughts

2018 If you would like to contribute to this project or would like more information please contact... email: Tel: 07765 819428

. . . o t e om Welc ‘FOR THE LOVE OF LETTUCE’

For the love of


Each year Melbourne Festival has a theme and this year we are celebrating our unsung heroes who for many years kept food on our plates. For the Love of Lettuce is a celebration of Melbourne’s Market Gardening History and what a celebration it has been! In the golden age of Melbourne’s Market Gardening at the start of the twentieth century there were over 150 Market Gardeners in the Parish of Melbourne. During the past century Melbourne Market Gardening has had a great rise and a steep decline. In the twenty-first century Melbourne has just three Market Gardens continuing to thrive – Heaths of Melbourne, F. Jacksons & Son and W. Sharp and Sons.


During the past year photographer Christopher Mear has been documenting the day-to-day lives of our remaining three Market Gardens. We have also interviewed many of Melbourne’s residents who have links to Melbourne’s old Market Gardens. In the next few pages we would like to share with you some of Chris’s images and a small selection of memories and images collected this year. The memories shared have been the inspiration for a number of installations and artworks around this year’s Melbourne Festival Art & Architecture Trail. Keep your eyes peeled for Emma Pegg’s installation “Nature & Nurture” which is beside Melbourne Senior Citizen Centre. Artist Stephen Parker invited South Derbyshire’s snail population, who love lettuce as much as we do, to join our celebrations. Also on the Trail composer Rosie Clements’ sound installation inspired by our market gardens and her encounters with local people. Writer and lettuce lover Alistair Gentry’s alter-ego “The Mel Bear of Melbourne” took to the streets to share some pieces of Melbourne Lettuce Lore. For the Love of Lettuce has been possible thanks to a Sharing Heritage Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund so a big thank you to everyone who buys a Lottery Ticket. Our research will continue, so please contact Melbourne Festival if you would like to get involved on 07765 819428 or via our website

Photography: Christopher Mear

More information can be found on and we will continue to update the site as the project progresses.



MELBOURNE’S MARKET GARDENING HERITAGE Melbourne in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries had over 150 Market Gardeners growing produce on 3500 acres of land and driving their loaded horse-drawn wagons to Derby Market to sell their produce each Friday. The market gardeners grew a variety of produce to ensure they had produce to sell throughout the year, most gardeners had an orchard, grew soft fruit, rhubarb, brassicas – sprouts, cauliflowers and cabbages – lettuce, beetroot, salad vegetables, peas and much more. In the era after the Second World War with the advent of tractors and lorries things started to change but still over 80 Market Gardens thrived into the 1950’s. During the next few decades as motor vehicles shrunk the world Market Gardeners took their produce to Markets further afield but competed for sales against produce from far away. To survive they started to sell to wholesalers and the growing number of supermarket chains, specialising in a smaller range of produce, while many Market Gardens closed or were taken over by their neighbours. 2

By the 1980’s only about 10 survived including Samuel Jackson Growers, Hilary Jackson, O J Hatton, and M Collyer & Son. In the twenty-first century Melbourne has just three Market Gardens continuing to thrive – Heaths of Melbourne, F. Jacksons & Son and W. Sharp and Sons. Having spoken to many people whose families were Market Gardeners, the overwhelming feeling is that although it was hard work the pleasure of working outdoors combined with the sense of companionship and family outweighed the hardship. We have included short pieces about some of the Market Gardeners in this magazine and will collate the information and exhibit it next year.

For the love of


OPPOSITE LEFT: The Taylors of Calke Road: Melbourne Historical Research Group. TOP LEFT: Tivey Brothers Pea Picking: Melbourne Historical Research Group. TOP RIGHT: Unknown, Les Astle and Dennis Freeman take a tea break: Anthony Freeman. MIDDLE LEFT: George Cook, William Horace Cook & Gearge Edmund Cook: Annette Soar. MIDDLE RIGHT: The Hatton & Snapes: Melbourne Historical Research Group. BOTTOM: Philip Tivey’s first lorry 1921: Sophia Tivey.



HEATHS OF MELBOURNE Since 1914, F.M. Heath and Sons have been growing fresh vegetables on the outskirts of Melbourne. The business of F.M Heath & Sons was originally founded by Marson Gregory in the “New York” area of Melbourne over a 100 years ago. Marson Gregory’s daughter Winfred “Winnie” married Frank M Heath, Brian Heaths grandfather, in 1928.

quality home-grown vegetables for over 100 years. Heath’s grow over 30 vegetable varieties and stock many more in their farm shop which is packed with seasonal, home-grown produce they are rightly proud of! From beetroot to brussel sprouts, cabbages to carrots, their fresh vegetables are harvested daily for the farm shop.

Frank E Heath has been at Woodhouse Farm since 1959, although the Victorian Farmhouse and Buildings are no longer attached to the land Brian Heath is the third generation of the Heath Family at Woodhouses, he has taken over the market garden from his Father, Frank Heath, a popular member of the Melbourne Community who still lives at Woodhouses. Heaths hillside land was always known for the potatoes grown on their well-drained land.

Heath’s are not just Market Gardeners. The farm shop stocks their own home-grown produce as well as a wide range of locally and British sourced food and drink. In addition, they have a small plant nursery on site specialising in allotment sundries, vegetable plants and summer and winter bedding. Heath’s are also known for their Pumpkin Patch and Christmas Trees. For local families taking a trip to Heath’s to choose their pumpkin and Christmas tree are key dates on their calendars.

Today, Heath’s is one of only three remaining market gardens in the area, maintaining the traditional growing methods and practices, and has supplied 4 07773 537193


Photography: Christopher Mear



Photography: Christopher Mear

BELOW: Marson Gregory and daughter Winnie, later Heath, at Bond Elm on the way back to Rawdon Street from Wilson End mid 1920s Photograph: Melbourne Historical Research Group



Photograph: Sharon Brown

Photography: Christopher Mear BELOW: Marson Gregory in foreground hoeing at Wilson End, 1940s Photograph: Melbourne Historical Research Group



F. JACKSON & SON F Jackson & Son grew from the Market Garden originally owned by Hugh Dolman. Hugh had a son, Les Dolman, who died in WW1 and a daughter who married Fred Jackson. Fred was a Market Gardening Labourer who worked extremely hard and had big ambitions, he was determined to make a successful business for his wife and family. Fred’s brother, Joe Jackson, had a Market Garden on The Common. Fred and Mary Jackson, Richard Jackson’s grandparents, bought Hawthorn House in March 1912 and they moved-in in May 1912 and repaid the loan to buy it by 1916. Fred’s son Joe Jackson was born in 1937 and worked with his father until taking over the business when Fred retired. Fred’s daughter Alice also worked on the land until she married Alan Dunnicliffe. Fred Jackson’s grandson, Richard Jackson, joined his father Joe on the land and still runs the Market Garden at Hawthorn House, which having moved with the times continues to thrive. In the second half of the twentieth century Jacksons had 30 acres, with some land cropped twice a year. During Richard’s lifetime there have been many changes but Richard still loves working on the land. He recalls someone advising him when he left school to “do what you enjoy” and over 30 years 8

later Richard says all the hard work is worthwhile when you see the results over the summer. Seeing seeds grow into exciting crops and getting feedback from customers makes it all worthwhile. Richard currently uses 12 acres of his land for Market Gardening, some land is still cropped twice a year. The remaining land is let for cereals and horses. F. Jackson and Son used to sell mainly through wholesale markets, however to survive in an increasingly competitive market Richard has diversified and in addition to the wholesale markets, produce is sold direct to pubs, restaurants, cafes, children’s nurseries, and to the public. Richard and his wife, Jane, now supply weekly Veg Boxes in Melbourne, Wilson, Breedon, Castle Donington and Chellaston. Jackson’s has stands at Farmers’ Markets most weekends, and at The Food Assembly in Derby, Matlock and Nottingham. Thanks to Richard’s love of unusual vegetables, his regular customers are treated to a huge variety of produce which are unlikely to be found on supermarket shelves. 07768 866181


Photography: Christopher Mear


FOR THE LOVE OF LETTUCE Photographs courtesy of Richard Jackson

LEFT: Jane Jackson at Melbourne Festival 2017 Photograph: Sharon Brown BELOW LEFT: John Robey Lettuce Picking late 1980s BELOW: John Robey clearing snow to uncover plants 1973

BELOW: Picking Sweet Williams John Robey, Joe Jackson, Sheila Sylvester, Carol Jackson, Margaret Jackson, Reg Sutton in June 1980



RIGHT: Margaret Jackson making Christmas wreaths 1980s BELOW:View over Greenhouses from Hawthorn House with first ever crop red lettuce in field July 1989 BELOW LEFT: Cabbage harvest Breach Lane Richard Jackson Sheila Sylvester John Robey 1980s BELOW RIGHT: pulling Leeks Edwin Thomas, Andrew Potts, Matthew Mayfield, James Palmer, Richard Jackson, Carol Jackson driving, Paul Stretton, Darren Hawksworth 1980s BOTTOM: Joe Jackson driving tractor for Carnival Float for Melbourne Methodists at Melbourne Carnival 1979



W. SHARP & SONS W. Sharp & Sons was started in 1896 by William Sharp, he bought a plot of land, approximately 3 acres, and started growing vegetables and took a stall on Derby Wholesale Market which was in the Market Place in Derby City Centre in those days. William had two sons, Jack and Eddie, who both worked with him. In around 1915 the business became W. Sharp & Sons. In the 1920’s Sharps bought more land at Breach Lane and Melbourne Corner, the land they still work today. Eddie’s son William, known as Bill joined the business from school in the early 1950s and they moved business premises to Kings Newton Lane. By that time they were working 12 acres of land. Now in his 80’s Bill still works on the land and his sons run the business. Martin Joined from school in 1979 at which stage Sharp’s farmed 13.5 acres. Bill’s other son, Colin, joined in 1985 after working for another Market Gardener when he left School. By the late 1980s Sharps were growing on 42 acres. Like the other market gardeners Sharp’s have survived by reacting to changes in the market to successfully build the business in the latter part of the twentieth century and consolidate it in recent years. At present they have about 32 acres but do not plant it all, about 4 acres is let out for farm crops and 6 acres are on fallow rotation. 12

For over a century Sharp’s had a stall on Derby Wholesale Market. It was run by Derby City Council until February 2017 at which point the Council closed the market at short notice to save money despite offers for a consortium of producers to buy it. Sharp’s now have a stand at a privately owned site alongside some other market gardeners who they had stood with for decades. Most of their produce is sold to Derbyshire businesses, supplying shops, market stalls, farm shops, pubs, cafés, restaurants and a small amount to wholesalers. Sharp’s deliver as far as Buxton and Cheadle and as near as Melbourne and Swarkestone, John Jackson of Swarkestone Nursery – whose family were another big Melbourne Market Gardener Samuel Jackson Growers – is proud to say that all of the vegetables in the Garden Centre Café and cut flowers are from Sharp’s! In addition to their excellent produce Sharp’s have a reputation for their cut flowers, bedding plants and hanging baskets which they sell from the yard during the season and from a flower and plant stall on Long Eaton Market on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the year. 07903 118398


Photography: Christopher Mear



LEFT: Margaret Sharp - Chairman of Melbourne Parish Council - Sharon Brown RIGHT: Dahlia & Romanesque Cauliflower - Christopher Mear

ABOVE: Sharps lorry in Samuel Jackson Growers Yard with Melbourne Market Gardeners display ready for Melbourne Carnival Parade in the 1960s Photograph Andrew Jackson

BELOW: W Sharp and Sons Lorry dressed for a Parade Photograph: Melbourne Historical Research Group



Photography: Christopher Mear



The Packing Shed at Kings Newton - Photographs courtesy of Andrew Jackson & John Jackson

ANDREW & JOHN JACKSON of Samuel Jackson Growers Ltd F Jackson and Son wasn’t the only branch of the Jackson family involved in Market Gardening in Melbourne, the Jackson families are all distant cousins with family connections through grandparents or great-grandparents. Samuel Jackson was one of 13 children – his parents were Walter and Fanny Jackson. He was a bit of a black sheep and rather than stay working for his family he decided to go it alone and took on some land at Ramsley. He had six children three boys who worked on the land and three girls who helped in the house. He bought Cross House in Kings Newton in 1922 for £1000, including Melbourne Brickworks, in 89 acres of land. It became the hub of the business and the family still own it nearly a century later. Samuel was John Jackson and Andrew Jackson’s grandfather and his business, Samuel Jackson & Son, later became Samuel Jackson Growers Ltd, which after many years as a market garden operates as Swarkestone Nursery today. In the post-war era there were lots of changes not least with horses being replaced by ’horsepower’ in the form of tractors and lorries. Samuel Jackson 16

never wanted a tractor and took a lot of persuading before he agreed, under pressure from his sons, Walter, Ken and Ewart, to buy one of the first Ferguson Tractors. As soon as it arrived, you couldn’t get him off it! The business reacted well to changes in the market for produce and the business thrived, eventually employing over 20 staff. Market Gardening was hard work and tiring when your days were long and spent out on the land. Samuel Jackson’s were a good firm to work for and looked after their workers. Everyone looked forward to stopping work for a few minutes in the afternoon for tea and eagerly awaited the arrival of Andrew Jackson’s mother, Margaret, with the huge container, known as ’The Big Jug’, of tea. Many workers stayed for their whole working life. In the 1960’s at Samuel Jackson’s, Ewart Jackson was always in the tractor ploughing and planting, Ken Jackson was in the office, and Walter looked after sales until Andrew took over. By the time Andrew joined the family business it was expanding fast. Andrew wasn’t a natural gardener, he worked hard but didn’t really enjoy the work. He used to go


LEFT: Sorting Brussel Sprouts 1978

BELOW: Loading S Jackson Sons Lorry in yard at Kings Newton

TOP LEFT: Roy Hughes Brussel sprout nobbing at Arleston Lane, Sinfin 1980s ABOVE: Cutting Rhubarb for Birmingham Market 1980s

to Market to Market every every FridayFriday at Derby at Derby with his withUncle his Uncleand lettuce and lettuce harvesting harvesting in fiveinacres five acres or 10,000 or 10,000 tons tons Walter. Walter. Andrew Andrew loved loved the bustle the bustle and banter and banter of ofa week a week for five formonths five months each year. each The year.lettuce The lettuce went went Market Market Day, and Day,he and realised he realised how you howcould you could make maketo processors, to processors, supermarkets, supermarkets, and wholesalers, and wholesalers, all all more more moneymoney at Market at Market and quickly and quickly learntlearnt to stand to standover the overcountry. the country. Samuel Samuel Jackson’s Jackson’s had a had dilemma, a dilemma, his ground his ground and get anda get good a good deal. Andrew deal. Andrew says that says thatto keep to the keepbusiness, the business, they had theytohad look toatlook growers at growers in in going going to Market to Market made made him the himperson the person he is, he he is, heSpain Spain to supply to supply their customers their customers for theforrest theofrest theof the changed changed from being from being a littlea mouse little mouse to a ‘rat’! to a ‘rat’! months months or riskorlosing risk losing all theallbusiness. the business. They They built abuilt a relationship relationship with with growers growers in Spain in Spain who who could could Samuel Samuel Jackson’s Jackson’s had land had throughout land throughout Melbourne Melbournesupplysupply iceberg iceberg lettucelettuce for theforrest theofrest theofyear. the year. and Kings and Kings Newton Newton and asand theasbusiness the business expanded expanded in in the 1970’s the 1970’s the new the generation new generation started started planting planting in inThrough Through the 1990’s the 1990’s the market the market changed changed to bagged to bagged the Trent the Trent ValleyValley at Swarkestone at Swarkestone wherewhere the flat the flatsalad salad ratherrather than whole than whole head head lettuce. lettuce. With With the the fields fields and lighter and lighter alluvialalluvial soil were soil were perfect perfect for forincrease increase in imports, in imports, gradually, gradually, Melbourne’s Melbourne’s produce produce market market gardening. gardening. By theBy1980‘s the 1980‘s Samuel Samuel Jackson Jacksonbecame became less competitive less competitive and most and most gardeners gardeners gave gave Growers Growers Ltd was Ltdcultivating was cultivating over 300 overacres, 300 acres, some someup. John up. John Jackson Jackson carried carried on with on with the original the original of it used of it for usedtwo for or two three or three crops crops of lettuce of lettuce each eachvegetable vegetable growing growing business business until until 1999/2000, 1999/2000, by by year. When year. When other other Market Market Gardens Gardens closed,closed, Samuel Samuelwhichwhich stage stage profitsprofits were were low and lowsales and unreliable. sales unreliable. Jackson’ Jackson’ took over tookaover lot ofa lot their ofland, theirhaving land, having decided decided the Market the Market Garden Garden closedclosed at theatstart the of start theof the that the thatonly theway onlytoway survive, to survive, was towas gettobigger get bigger and andSadly Sadly 21st 21st Century. Century. John John Jackson Jackson still owns still owns Samuel Samuel supplysupply more more produce produce to thetowholesale the wholesale trade trade and and Jackson Jackson Growers Growers Ltd and Ltdit and is now it isanow thriving a thriving gardengarden supermarkets. supermarkets. centrecentre – Swarkestone – Swarkestone Nursery Nursery – in the – inglasshouses the glasshouses In response In response to changing to changing markets markets in thein1980‘s the 1980‘s and andat Swarkestone at Swarkestone wherewhere they once they grew once grew vegetables. vegetables. 1990’s,1990’s, Samuel Samuel Jackson’s Jackson’s specialised specialised and grew and grew mainlymainly sprouts sprouts in winter in winter – 150 –acres 150 acres at their at peak their –peak – 17


LEFT: John Twells with automatic Brussel Sprout weighing machine ABOVE: Jake Jackson rotivating at Ramsley 1970s BELOW LEFT: Samuel EWART Jackson at Ramsley irrigating Celery 1980s BELOW RIGHT: Ken Jackson checking cabbages Sept 1969 BOTTOM: Dennis Jackson on Tractor with boxes in Yard at Kings Newton



Kidney Beans as far as you can see 1996-7 Mobile packing shed in fields at Swarkestone 1996 - Photographs courtesy of Andrew Jackson

TRENT VALLEY GROWERS With the rapid growth of supermarkets and the change in everyone’s shopping habits by the 1980’s it became progressively harder for Melbourne’s Market Gardeners to sell their produce. During the previous decades in response to the changing market Melbourne’s Market Gardeners had changed their style of gardening to specialise in particular produce rather than growing a wide variety of produce to sell at local Markets. By the later 1970’s the market was very difficult for Samuel Jackson Growers’ produce the directors agreed that it was time for a change of direction. The business was divided up and Andrew Jackson and Peter Barton left and set up Trent Valley Growers Ltd at Barrow on Trent to try to focus on the supermarkets and big wholesalers. They grew their own produce and other Melbourne Market Gardeners including O J Hattons and Hilary Jackson supplied Trent Valley Growers who acted as a hub for a marketing cooperative from Cheltenham. Trent Valley Growers were growing large quantities of a few crops specialising in Iceberg Lettuces, Kidney Beans and Brussel Sprouts on the flat fields in the Trent Valley. The company expanded rapidly

and when O J Hatton closed in 1989 many of the old workers, including Barry Nadin and Anthony Knight, went to work for Trent Valley Growers at Barrow on Trent, they stayed there for over ten years until the company closed. Barry remembered that when Brussel picking one day with Butch Earp in Weston on Trent it was snowing so hard that that the weight of the snow bought all the pylons behind them down. They didn't hear them fall but on turning around couldn't believe what they saw when they turned around! In the 1980s the business grew to £5m turnover supplying big supermarkets including Morrisons, Aldi and Waitrose. At this stage the supermarkets were already prescriptive about look and consistency of produce rather than taste often 60% of production was “below” supermarket standard. They grew quantities to allow for reject rate and the business continued to grow until 1989 when Morrisons took over Safeway and the buying teams merged. The next bean harvest Trent’s sample packs were rejected twice and only 10% of harvest accepted. This led to closure of Trent Valley Growers.


FOR THE LOVE OF LETTUCE OJ Hatton Ladies Olive Hatton (Dennis wife) Grace Ryle (nee Hatton), Ivy Rodgers, Kath Green, Tess Hawksworth and Olive Hatton (Ron’s wife) in 1960s. Photograph courtesy of Geraldine Timmins.

OJ Hatton with Ron and Dennis in Castle Square early 1930s Photograph courtesy of Melbourne Historical Research Group


of OJ Hatton & Sons Ltd Grace Ryle (née Hatton) was the daughter of Oswald James Hatton, founder of OJ Hatton & Sons. From an early age Grace and her siblings Ron, Den and Nora worked on the land and with their mother in the tying-up shed preparing produce for market – bunching radishes and in the winter brussels sprouts; tidying them up; putting them in bags and then into boxes ready to go on the lorry to the market next day. In school holidays Grace loved going to Market with her father. At the market they called Grace “Little Ossi” after her father, Oswald. She loved being on the land and drove the tractor at 13 and passed her driving test at 17. Grace left School at 14 and after just one week in an office never went back! She worked on the land until her sons were born. The Hattons were a very close, happy family and OJ Hatton was much loved as a careful and obliging father. Dennis and Ron didn’t go to war; they were exempt because they were Market Gardeners and they were needed on the land. Towards the end of the war German and Italian prisoners worked on the land. After the war tractors took over from horses and the business expanded rapidly as OJ Hatton brought in lots of innovations. He and Samuel Jackson’s were reputed to be the busiest and the best market gardeners in Melbourne. Oswald was involved in the NFU and regarded as an expert on modern market gardening. In the 1950’s Grace married Peter Ryle from Castle Donington, who joined the business. The business was expanding and had moved to Hope Street where they had their garaging, storage barns and 20

beetroot sheds, where Hatton Court now stands. Their land was mainly in the Ramsley area and they farmed a big area of land between Station Road and Blackwell Lane from Melbourne to Wilson and a lot at Wilson Hill. OJ Hatton’s still grew a variety of produce but Dennis was innovative and started growing and cooking peas and beetroot to sell. It was a novelty for people to buy cooked beetroot and it was a big seller for them. There are many tales about being able to tell what Hatton’s were processing by the rivers of green or red water running down Hope Street! This was a turning point and the company started selling their produce further afield. By the 1980’s OJ Hatton’s was the biggest Market Gardener in Melbourne with a fleet of lorries taking produce all over the country in addition to local Markets in Nottingham, Loughborough and Uttoxeter and the business was employing over 30 people. They were a popular employer and whole families worked for them. Unfortunately the market for produce changed very quickly. Cheaper produce began to come from abroad and Spanish producers undercut British producers. One Spring OJ Hatton’s had lots of produce and no buyers, their produce wasn’t selling at Nottingham Market. Grace, Peter and their son Andrew took produce up the M1, but couldn’t sell. OJ Hatton’s struggled dramatically when the market changed while other smaller Market Gardeners pulled through. They were dreadful times, OJ Hatton & Sons closed and 30 workers lost their jobs.


Ron & Dennis (centre front) at OJ Hatton’s Yard, Hope Street - Melbourne Historical Research Group

BARRY NADIN talking about

‘A Year at OJ Hatton’, filmed in 1966 Barry was born in 1951, as a schoolboy from Alvaston he worked for OJ Hatton & Sons during the Summer holidays and started work fulltime in 1966, he married Barbara Bowman a Melbourne girl, and stayed until 1989 when OJ Hatton & Sons closed and he went to work for Trent Valley Growers which had formed from the merger of a number of local market gardens. Barry had a DVD which he showed us. Filmed by Roger Hatton on cinefilm in 1966 showing the growers in the fields throughout the year from the beetroot harvest to peas, sprouts, kidney beans and haymaking. OJ Hatton & Sons were a good firm to work for. Most of the Hatton family worked for the firm and the permanent workers were part of the extended family. Throughout the year OJ Hatton employed over 30 people full time, at busy times many of the women joined the men in the fields and on Saturdays and School holidays the children helped out. During the summer extra casual workers came by bus from Derby and there could be 70 people working there. Hattons had tractors, forklifts and lots of modern equipment but still most of the work was done by hand. There is a blacksmith still in the village who made their tools and knives for cutting the vegetables. By the time Barry joined OJ Hatton in the 1960s the main products during the winter were beetroot and marrowfat peas. The beetroot were grown during summer in the fields just off the end of Blackwell Lane, they were dug up in Autumn stored and then cooked and packed throughout the year. Hattons other main product was “Sloppy Peas” made from dried marrowfat peas which were bought in, processed and sold. They often

had problems with the drains and the water from boiling the beetroot and peas was tipped into the gutter and you could tell what Hattons had been cooking up by the red or green water flowing down Hope Street towards Commerce Street. The main winter crop in the fields was Brussel sprouts. OJ Hatton grew most of their sprouts at Stanton Field, when they were ready in the Autumn they were picked or ‘nobbed’. In the 1960s sprouts were still picked by hand. When the weather was mild it was a good job, in midwinter when it was frosty or snowy it was harder work as the Brussel sprouts were frosty and your hands ached with the cold. The job was done by hand until machines were introduced in the 1980s which could separate the sprouts from their stalks. During the summer in the 1960s and 1970s OJ Hatton grew acres of kidney beans at Blackwell Lane. The seeds were germinated and then the plants were planted by hand with a small trowel and the wigwams with 4 canes tied together were set up for the beans to grow up. OJ Hatton used 200,000 canes each year. When the beans were ready to pick they were picked by hand and put into 20lb boxes, at peak times In the 1960s & 1970s OJ Hatton packed 4000 boxes of kidney beans a day in the late summer months. OJ Hatton had 350 acres by the 1980s. They grew 100,000 cauliflowers a year. “All the cauliflowers had to cut within a few weeks otherwise they started to flower and go to seed”. Vegetables went to Ripley, Alfreton, Clay Cross, Chesterfield, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, right up to Bradford and Ron Hatton used to go to Sneinton Market in Nottingham.



Olive Hatton (Dennis wife), Oswald Hatton (THE O.J. Hatton), Ron Hatton, Ivy Rodgers, Olive (Ron’s wife), Tess Hawksworth, Grace Hatton/Ryle packing beetroot winter 1959. Photograph courtesy of Geraldine Timmins.


remembering her Mother, Ivy Rodgers who worked for OJ Hatton & Sons Ltd.


Geraldine Timmins’ mother, Ivy Rodgers worked for OJ Hattons & Sons in the 1950s & 60s. The Rodgers family lived in Quick Close, in the house which originally belonged to Thomas Cook (the inventor of modern holidays).

“Hatton’s were the biggest and most innovative Market Gardener in Melbourne at the time started processing and selling cooked beetroot in plastic packs and peas. At the time selling cooked beetroot was a novelty”.

At that time Hattons had their garaging, storage barns and beetroot sheds in Hope Street where Hatton Court now stands. Their land was mainly in the Ramsley area and they farmed a big area of land between Station Road and Blackwell Lane from Melbourne to Wilson. Den (Dennis) Hatton lived in the detached house after the last Terrace House in Hope Street before what is now Hattons Court. Ron Hatton lived in Quick Close.

Ivy’s favourite job was in the beetroot shed where they cooked, skinned, prepared and packaged the beetroot ready for Market. “It was warm in there and everyone worked together”.


Tea break during haymaking for Fred Dowell and family at the Banks on Coppice Farm - Chris Astle

Pete Dowell on the Allis-Chamer Tractor fertilizing a crop of potatoes - Chris Astle

CHRISTINE ASTLE, daughter of Fred Dowell As a child Chris lived at Springwood Cottage until Staunton Harold reservoir was built in 1964, when the family moved to Coppice Farm where they grew produce and had cows. Instead of meeting her friends in Melbourne after school, she had to help on the farm. The children also had to help with planting and picking when the gardens were very busy. When Fred was young there was no time for resting! If Fred came in from the fields as soon as he sat down his father would say, “there’s no time to be idle” and send him out to do another job. The whole family had a very strong work ethic, that’s why Fred can’t sit down these days! Even after he retired after a lifetime working on the land he couldn’t stay indoors. For years he still had a

Fred Dowell outside his cucumber and tomato house at Springwood Farm - Chris Astle

smallholding in Blackwell Lane and still has the biggest allotment in Blackwell Lane where he works all day, every day. Vera, Chris’s mum, always worked extremely hard. Throughout Chris’s childhood she remembers her mum cooking for all the family and casual workers. She started her day surrounded by huge frying pans full of eggs, bacon, and sausages for all the men for breakfast. When the men had been fed Vera cooked porridge or cereals for her own four children before they went to School. Once the children were fed she took breakfast to Fred’s parents who also lived with them. When all the dishes were washed Vera headed off to help in the fields until it was time to prepare dinner.

Fred & Vera Dowell in garden at Blackwell Lane Cottage. Fred with his trusty hand hoe Vera with her chickens - Chris Astle



KEN HATTON & MARGARET HALL (Hatton) of Isaac Hatton & Sons Albert Hatton on Tractor, Auntie Nellie and Land Girl, Dorothy

Market Gardening was in the blood for the Hatton family. O J Hatton’s brother Isaac Hatton also ran a successful Market garden in Melbourne. His grandchildren Ken and Margaret shared some of their memories of their family with us. The market garden first started at Union Street. Before WW1, Isaac Hatton was working in a shoe factory, when they went off to the War he said that he’d never work inside again, so they moved from Blaby in Leicestershire to Melbourne and started the Market Garden from Union Street. Later they moved to the Lilypool in Castle Street where they had two pigsties, stables and a loft upstairs to store apples from the orchard in the Lilypool by the house. Downstairs was the tying-up shed where they bunched up radishes, spring onions and when it was very, very cold the brussels sprouts sticks were taken inside for sprout nobbing. Isaac’s sons, Albert and Wilfred both joined their father when they left school. Albert Hatton, lived nearby with his family – Ken & Margaret – in Station Road.

Isaac Hatton grew cauliflowers, brussels, cabbage, leeks, beetroot, spring onions, radishes, mint, potatoes, strawberries, broad beans, kidney beans and rhubarb on land in Station Road which he rented from Lord Lothian. He also rented 10 acres of land at Ramsley owned by Mr May, the Methodist Preacher, where they grew strawberries in Summer. Post war Albert grew lots of beetroot at Ramsley and boiled it in two big coppers, peeled it and put it in trays before taking it to market – at that time they were the only ones boiling it and skinning it for market! There were lots of casual outside workers and at busy times their children came as well. Margaret and Ken worked with their Dad, and helped Mam after school in the afternoons tying up or picking peas. In the 1940’s Isaac Hatton had two brown horses Bonny & Tommy who worked the land but in 1948 they bought their first tractor, an Allis Chalmers, which Ken fondly remembers. From 1956 onwards, Fergie tractors appeared in Melbourne and there was no turning back, various tools could be attached to the Fergie and you could lift it up with three-point linkage to go on road. Albert worked on the land while Wilfred Hatton went to market in Nottingham twice a week. At strawberry time strawberries were picked and sold as soon as they were ripe. Albert Hatton retired from I Hatton and Sons in 1961, by which time a lot of Melbourne Gardeners had given up as the business was changing so fast. Ken talked to OJ Hatton & Sons about merging I Hatton and OJ Hatton to create a bigger, stronger business. After the merger Ken joined O J Hatton as a tractor driver, having inherited his father’s talent for driving. The new company was the biggest in Melbourne competing with Samuel Jackson’s in Kings Newton. Ken worked with his cousins until OJ Hatton & Sons closed.

Aunty Nellie and Land Girl Dorothy Radish bunching in The Lilypool


FOR THE LOVE OF LETTUCE BELOW: Aunty Mabel, Florrie Bounds and Auntie Nellie, pea picking RIGHT: Aunty Nellie with two Prisoners of War – a Ukranian on the left and Hans a German on the right MIDDLE LEFT: Albert Hatton on tractor with Aunty Nellie, Iris Neville and Florrie Bounds at Ramsley Fields MIDDLE RIGHT: Albert Nellie and Annie Hatton, strawberry picking BOTTOM: John and Eliza Hatton Golden Wedding - Photo Derby Mercury 18 June 1920

Photographs courtesy: Ken Hatton & Margaret Hall (nee Hatton).



Sid Gray, Maurice Collyer and Denys Collyer. Photograph courtesy of Denys Collyer

DENYS COLLYER & JOHN STATHAM of Collyer & Son Maurice Collyer set up the family Market Gardening business in 1929. Their land sat adjacent to the family home, which was Ivy Cottage on Jawbone Lane, and backed onto Station Road, Melbourne in one direction, and to Main Street, Kings Newton in the other. They continued to live here until Denys was 17 years old, when they moved to a house that was built for them, on Station Road. Denys left school at the age of 15, and went on to work in the family business with his father and stayed for forty years when he moved on to work for his cousin, T. S. Collyer in Chellaston. Denys continued to grow on a smaller part of the original land, which he would tend to at weekends, with the help of his son. During the winter, the land would be devoted to growing broccoli, cauliflower and calabrese. In summer, the main crop would be lettuces, they would typically cut these at about six in the mornings, when they would be at their freshest – wet with dew. Radishes and salad onions were also grown. The Collyers also grew strawberries in the summer months. John, Denys’s cousin, recalls the two boys creeping between the rows of strawberries on their stomachs as young boys, helping themselves to the biggest and best of the crop, trying to avoid being spotted by Denys’s dad! The family got their first greenhouse in 1946, and this is where they would grow their tomatoes, yielding approximately 500lbs a year! John remembers planting the first tomatoes in this particular greenhouse, when he was just 16 years 26

old. They would also use the greenhouses in the winter to raise their early plants, such as brussels sprouts. From 1946 to the mid-1980s, the business sold 50% of its output to R. Vickers & Sons Ltd, who were a produce merchant based in Loughborough. The remaining 50% would be taken for selling at Derby Market. Collyer’s were the first Market Gardeners in the areas to purchase a motorised vehicle, in 1921, to transport their produce to Market. Prior to this, transport would have been a horse-drawn cart Denys and John both loved Market Gardening, “Every day was different in the world of Market Gardening. One day you would be sowing, the next harvesting!” recalls Denys. Collyer’s also grew some flowers – sweet williams, gypsophila and wall flowers, known locally as Gillivers! Denys also recalls the beautiful smell of these following a good morning dew. Denys and Ruth still like to cultivate and sell gypsophila, in fact Denys continues to sell a few of these still in Swadlincote Market.

Mabel, Pop Collyer, Phyl, Maurice Collyer and Tess. Photograph courtesy of Denys Collyer


RIGHT: Denys Collyer, Janet Baker and Sid Gray - Photograph courtesy Melbourne Historical Research Group BELOW: Duchess of Gloucester visiting Melbourne NFU Horticultural Section John Jackson, Denys and Ruth Collyer 1989 Photograph Courtesy of John Jackson BELOW RIGHT: Denys Collyer tying up tomatoes photo taken for Duchess of Gloucester visit May 1982 Photograph courtesy of Richard Jackson

Maurice Collyer left Denys Collyer right at Melbourne Produce Show 1960s. Photograph courtesy of Denys Collyer



COLIN and BRENDA EARP of Mark Earp & Son, Cockshut Lane, Melbourne Colin was born at The Orchards at Kings Newton where he lived until he married Brenda Cooper whose Father had Park Farm Isley Walton. He had one sister who was thirteen years older. After Colin married Brenda in 1958 they lived with Colin’s parents and moved into The Butts in Cockshut Lane in early 1959 and have lived there ever since. The business has been in their family for 4 generations. Colin’s Great Grandad was John Earp. His son Mark took over, followed by William and then Colin was born in 1932. In 1919 some of the Melbourne Estate was sold at a public sale at The Public Hall, now Amalfi White, on Derby Road. William Earp and Les Astle were bidding for land on Cockshut Lane and the land prices kept going up, Terry Hughley, an Estate Agent who worked with a local councillor was trying to buy up lots of the land and then rent it out at a higher rent. The local Market Gardeners and Farmers were outraged and kept bidding against him. Apparently the sale was held up after an uproar when they threw him out. When the sale resumed Colin’s Grandfather Mark Earp managed to buy the land. There were around 96 families earning a living from market gardening when Colin was young so competition was high. It was all dependant on the weather if you had a good summer obviously you had a lot of produce, and so did everyone else, so there was more waste. In market gardening you made a fortune one year and lost it the next! 28

Colin started work at 15, they still had a horse but they had tractors by then. It was extremely hard work especially for the older generation when the only means of transportation was a horse drawn cart. Before they had a lorry Dad, William Earp had to go to Market with a horse and cart, he had to leave at 1am to get to Nottingham for 4am! The wagon was so heavy when it was full of produce that he set off with two horses to get up the hills until they got to the top of Isley Pastures beyond Park Farm. Lots of people did it the second horse was called a “gear horse” the horse was unhitched and taken home while the lead horse pulled the cart to Market, they always took a bag of meal and a bucket for some water so that the horse could eat and drink before the return journey. He didn’t need help on the way home as, hopefully, the wagon was empty! Although the Market usually finished about 8am it was between 12 & 1 O’clock when they got home! The Earp family sold their produce mainly at Nottingham Market in Sneinton although Brenda


also went to Leicester Market. Even when they had a lorry going to Market involved loading the lorry the day before and getting up at 3am to drive to Market as the main market in Nottingham opened at 4am. The new market opened in 1938 and had a road through the middle. Lorries parked either side and wholesalers drove vans through to buy produce. When Mark was younger and working for Colin he was expected to help at Market. Often he would get in late and not get much sleep, one night he arrived back VERY late as Colin was getting ready to leave, he couldn’t wait for him to change so he went to market in his dinner suit! Mark went into the market café after and didn’t feel out of place as the croupiers from the nearby casino were there having breakfast before heading home to bed. The main crops were lettuce and salad crops in summer and cabbage, cauliflower, brussels and later broccoli and spinach in winter. Spinach was a new crop and was very popular with the large Asian population in Leicester after Idi Amin threw them out of Uganda in the 1970s, they would sell at Leicester Market 3 times a week. They had a bore hole sunk 56 years ago in 1961 for irrigation. Les Astle had one at the same time and Wilf Astle had another one – their land was either side of Colin Earps. The land is now rented out and Mark, Colin’s Son is a well know business man who owns Staunton Harold Nurseries, this was bought 1990/91 it is a thriving business although most of the sales are through the internet. Waste was always a problem. There was one year everyone’s crop came at the same time and the Market was glutted. Colin went to Market with his father with lots of beautiful cauliflower but everyone had them so they got a very low price and virtually had to give them away. A few weeks later we just had a few small yellow cauliflower and got a good price as nobody had them! The Market Gardening industry collapsed with the growth of supermarkets. They used to get excited when a supermarket was opening and announce on the television that it was going to create more jobs but

Above: Colin Earp at Sneinton Market in the 1970s. Left: Colin Earp ploughing in the 1940s.

it took away jobs as small greengrocers and other shops closed and small market gardeners lost their customers and couldn’t produce enough to interest the supermarkets. The last two years were bad. Earps weren’t first to give up, a lot went before them. Sadly apart from Heaths, Jacksons and Sharps nobody is Market Gardening although Mark Earp diversified and opening his garden centre and garden supplies businesses in 1990 and David Smith has The National Forest Spring Water Company using the water which he once used for irrigation and Samuel Jackson Growers led by John Jackson now operates Swarkestone Nursery. 29


HILARY JACKSON of The Common, Melbourne Jenny Jackson and daughter Josephine Raine spoke to Teresa Johnson 8th August 2017 Jenny from Stenson married Melbourne Market Gardener Hilary Jackson in 1964, they lived on Melbourne Common in a brand new bungalow next to Hilary’s parents on the land which had been in the Jackson family for several generations. Hilary’s father and grandfather, and Jenny thinks, great-grandfather were all market gardeners. Hilary’s father, Grandpa Joe, left his families Market Garden as a young man and married Lily Walden, whose family lived at Woodhouses until the1940’s. At first they lived in an old caravan on their land on The Common until they had enough money to pay to build a house, “Four Winds”, Jenny, Hilary and their daughters had their bungalow built near to where the caravan had been. Grandpa Joe and Aunt Phil worked very hard, Jenny said if there was work to be done, everybody was there, you needed lots of hands in those days pre-machine. Their hard work paid off and they had a successful business. Grandpa, Joe Jackson, had two horses that Hilary used to talk about, Jose thinks they were called Charlie and Darkie. Another favourite family story was about when Grandpa had a tractor, when he got to the end of a row with a tractor, when he put his foot on the clutch, he still said, “wowww!” which was a life-long habit! During Jenny’s lifetime there were a lot of changes which affected the way we live and shop, these have had a huge impact on Market Gardening 30

locally. When Hilary and Jenny first married, they grew a bit of everything, they had market stalls at Ripley and Alfreton and grew produce including strawberries in summer and a few Christmas trees to stock them all year round. There was quite a bit of friendly competition between the different gardeners, as well. Who had the first this and that and the other! They were thriving then and that carried on until around about 1979 – 1980 when they finally just started selling to wholesale. For a while it crossed over with some wholesale, some retail and farm-gate sales. In the 1970’s Hilary also used to deliver cauliflowers, sprouts, beans and other produce to people in Derby – at this time there was a cultural shift and lots of people had big chest freezers and liked to stock up on frozen veg and do their own. Everything still was grown in quite small volumes. The main change in Market Gardening was down to the supermarkets and the way that people were buying food was changing from one-stop shops to supermarkets so within a generation Market Gardeners changed from selling at markets to supplying the supermarkets. Obviously since then, the farmers’ market concept has returned as Hilary said, “everything will turn full-circle” but you can’t imagine the supermarkets losing power now they have that grip.


Left: Joe Jackson outside his caravan on The Common, early 1920s. Right: Joe Jackson, near Hilary Jackson’s bungalow on The Common, 1965.

Between 1978 and the mid-1980’s they were just supplying wholesale markets. So, Hilary Jackson would do his day’s work in the field and then become a delivery driver at night. It was hard work and long hours. He went to the wholesale markets at Derby, Leicester and Nottingham and delivered to Birmingham as well, they all received goods at different times. In the 1980’s Hilary Jackson supplied through an agency - Grower Marketing Services, GWS, based in Cheltenham and dealt with Marks & Spencer’s and Sainsbury’s amongst others. The produce was delivered to Trent Valley Growers at Barrow on Trent where they had a pack house which worked on behalf of GMS, they were presumably responding to the same stimulus by creating an outpost, if you like, for Melbourne to deliver to and then it became a hub. They grew salads and that sort of thing to complement what they could offer from that hub. Each Market Gardener had to supply certain things and there was no variety in what they produced. It became a single product in the end, it was just cauliflowers, they had to be very uniform and they had to be ready when the supermarket wanted them. And if the supermarket could get them at a better price from somewhere else, that week, your delivery was cancelled.

to many generations of market gardeners. Hilary was a very well respected Market Gardener and very active in the Melbourne Market Gardeners Branch of the NFU. It was a sad time as he identified himself 100% as a grower, it was a big blow. Jose said that “as a way to grow up for a person of my generation, I think it was the best, you had fresh air, a healthy lifestyle and we had such a laugh! We were all together. And I think probably you would find that repeated again and again. That’s a way of life that is really hard to achieve now, I think. And I think we valued it at the time. It’s not a case of looking back and saying, I wish we’d appreciated it. We did appreciate it. I think we knew”.

To survive you had all of your eggs in one basket by that point, so, you were at their mercy. It wasn’t sustainable, producers focussed on one product, cauliflower won’t grow all year around, it’s not possible to limit your output, and income, to such a short period of the year and to a customer who doesn’t guarantee to buy what you have to sell. The Market gardeners had to sell on the open market, which doesn’t want it and take whatever you can for it. You had no relationship with your customer and they don’t really care about you. It put an end 31


ANNETTE SOAR (nee Cook) of G. Cook & Sons. James Salsbury of Shaw House, Robinson’s Hill bought Kings Newton Fields in 1883. He was a market gardener, as was his father, Edmund Salsbury. In 1893 he gave it to his daughter, Elizabeth, who was married to Annette Soar’s Great Grandad John Horace Cook. On John Horace’s death their son, George, inherited the business and it became G. Cook and Sons, the sons being Annette’s Uncle, William Horace and George Edmund, her Dad. When Annette was born in 1946 the family living at Kings Newton Fields consisted of Grandad and Grandma, Uncle Horace and Auntie Cath, and Dad and Mum. They grew brussel sprouts, cauliflowers, various cabbages, leeks, spring onions, peas, beetroot and lettuce. Also there were orchards with apples, pears, plums, damsons and gooseberries. Seeds were sown with a hand drill. The men covered the seed with their feet walking slowly, hands behind them. There was a seed drill which was towed behind the tractor as well, which was originally horse drawn. 32

‘Stuff getting’ was the market gardening term for harvesting vegetables. Annette used to go out with the men when they were stuff-getting, often finding a cosy little place to curl up and go to sleep. Potatoes were spun out of the ground by the potato spinner behind the tractor and put into a wire basket then emptied into a sack. Some of the produce was sold locally. There must have been some kind of an arrangement with Collyer’s in Kings Newton because they regularly used to take stuff down there on the dray, but most of it went to the wholesale market at Nottingham. All the boxes and bunches and baskets of stuff were stored in the barn ready for collection by George Garner at Thursday teatime for the Friday market. When the dinner was ready someone rang the hand bell which hung in the little window at the top of the kitchen, and the men came in, scraping their boots on the boot scraper. Mid-morning and midafternoon ‘drinks’ were taken out to them by the women in a basket. A can of coffee in the morning


- Camp coffee, sweetened with saccharin, in the afternoon it was tea. Annette’s Grandad wore a battered old hat, with a hole in it which sun shone through and burnt his head, a collarless striped shirt and a weskitt. He took great care looking after his animals. They were well fed and always had plenty of clean bedding. Annette used to go with him to feed the hens in the orchard. There were also three working horses, Prince, Duke and Tommy, about 6 cows, pigs, chickens, Patch the dog and several cats. G. E. Cook and Sons’ first tractor was a David Brown. It had a large canvas seat stuffed with horsehair with plenty of room for Annette to sit beside her father while he was ploughing. She remembers the drone of the engine, the smell of warm, freshly turned earth and falling asleep. Her father looked behind most of the time and kept winding handles at the back of the tractor. Her father always wore a black beret whereas Uncle Horace had a flat cap and leather gaiters. He didn’t drive the tractor but went ‘oss-oein’ (horse hoeing) with Tommy. He was quite reserved. He hadn’t had the advantage of joining the army as Dad had done. He was required to work on the land.

prolonged frost. There were cauliflowers on “Clarence’s Piece”, all perfect, every one sold. Pears sold for £2 per box - a lot of money in 1947. There were always crowds of Ukrainians to help at harvest time. John Horadzcuk, a Ukrainian refugee who lived at Weston Camp, arrived on foot looking for a job and Grandad set him on. After a while he got a push bike, then a motor bike. He proved to be a good strong hard worker, as were most of the Ukrainians. When the camp closed he was offered accommodation at Kings Newton Fields, and an attic room was made into a bedsit for him. The business survived until Grandads death in 1961 when it was wound up, along with many other local market gardening businesses around that time. Uncle Horace died only a short time later. Annette’s father got a job as a laboratory assistant near Duffield but continued to grow 4 acres of potatoes for some years. Later he rented most of the land to surviving market gardeners.

Annette’s father told her about the winter of 1946/7. He described it as a very hard one. The horses stayed in the stables and didn’t lie down for 6 weeks. At the end of that winter there was nothing on the land at all. Everyone was in the same boat. All G. Cook & Sons had was a patch of winter lettuce which had had been covered by snow drifts. When the snow melted the plants lay down flat and wet, but then recovered and made a really good crop. Then nothing till June. Annette said ‘It about crippled us.’ When the first peas came on everything began to go right. Crops were perfect as the pests had all been destroyed by the

Left: George Edmund Cook, Sid Smith, George Cook William, Horace Cook. Right: George Cook, William Horace Cook, George Edmund Cook



Sophia Patchett of Philip Tivey & Sons Philip Tivey was the son of a large family living in Pump Lane, New York - ‘Newk’ area, as known by the locals, This area was demolished in the 1960’s clearance, now called Moira Street. Philip started work at the age of 11 years, he was sent to work planting the ‘quickening’ Hawthorn Hedges, by the sides of the Railway lines. Philip later married Sarah Jane Hall from Ashby (Nov. 13th, 1886). Living in Blanch Croft, they had 6 children: Jack, Clarence, William, Raymond, Sophia and Philip Jr. The family moved from Blanch Croft to Mount Pleasant, now known as Commerce Street, next to Tivey’s shop, the yard had a large gateway opening onto the street, they had a stall at the entrance where they sold the produce. In 1914 Philip was offered Breedon View, 92 Victoria Street, at a price of £400 this was the hub of the business for many years. Raymond married Josephine in 1924; they had 2 daughters Sophia and Doreen. William married Edith


Bailey they had 2 sons George and Dennis. The wives had to help out on the land, as did all the Gardeners wives. The women worked in rows on hands and knees in their cotton pleated bonnets and coarse aprons made out of the hessian sacks, no machinery in those days, only horse and cart, hoes and rakes. Melbourne hoes were ‘swan neck’ hoes, sometimes made by the Gardeners themselves or by the local blacksmith. In 1926 during the General Strike, it became difficult to get the produce to Market, so Philip bought his first lorry; they were then able to go to Derby Market, Leicester Market and Jack’s greengrocers shop. As a child Sophia went to Market during School holidays. In the 1930’s Melbourne was a small village; everyone knew one another, whole families lived on the same street. It was all Market Gardens, farms and allotments. Most of the streets had 2 or 3 shops; you could buy everything you needed without going into the cities.


Along came the Second World War and Market Gardeners were suddenly needed now to ‘Dig for Victory’, Sophia later joined the Land Army to do her bit. Nobody expected the war to last for 6 years! German prisoners of war arrived in a camp, somewhere in Ticknall and were sent to work in the farms and Market Gardens Rhubarb was very popular during the war, all the Gardeners had rhubarb sheds to get forced rhubarb early, the sheds had to be stoked up to the right temperatures. Lots of rhubarb was grown outside also, some was sent to Birmingham to the Jam Factories to mix with other fruit to be sold as mixed fruit jam.

Opposite Top: Philip Tivey and his wife Sarah Jane. Opposite left: Sophia with carthorse Daisy or Buttercup 1935. Opposite Right: Philip Tivey’s first lorry 1926. Above: Birthday card for Sophia Tivey from George, one of their POW’s in 1946. Below: Haymaking Raymond Tivey, Florrie, Vincent Patchett, Sophia Tivey haymaking in 1940s. Left: Sophia Tivey & Vincent Patchett 1940s. Centre: Raymond Tivey & friend Freddie Thompson 1920 rear of 92 Victoria Street. Right: Sophia in landgirl uniform, 1947.

During the war when rationing was so strict, I believe we were better off than city people, all gardeners had a shot gun, so many a pheasant or rabbit was caught to supplement the rations and we could forage for food such as blackberries and mushrooms. Most of the locals knew where to find the mushrooms and the Morrells. We were also allowed to keep one pig per family; most homes had a pig sty. All the family worked for their father Philip, until the business finished in 1957.



Arthur & Vera Worrall planting sprout

Arthur Worrall ploughing

PETER WORRALL, son of Arthur Joseph Worrall Peter Worrall’s parents Arthur Joseph Worrall & Vera Marion Worrall had their own Market Garden in Melbourne. His Grandfather came to Melbourne from Quorn in Leicestershire in the early 1920’s and bought the land which the family worked. Neither Peter or his brother Michael went into the family business. During the winter months they grew lots of Brussels, cauliflowers, cabbages and later broccoli. Nobody in Melbourne grew carrots, apart from for the family to eat, they just didn’t grow very well. Beetroot were very successful. One of Pete’s early childhood memories is of Fred Jackson, at Hawthorn House next door, boiling up beetroot in a copper and peeling them over an old tin bath while Pete played with Fred’s daughter Alice. Throughout the summer months the family grew lettuce, cucumbers and salad crops including spring onion. The onions were planted in rows using a seed drill and then the Land Girls or casual helpers would have the job of crawling on hands

and knees picking out all the weeds when the onions came out. Arthur Worrall had a reputation for his strawberries, he carried on growing his strawberries even after he retired at 65, he grew a variety called “Cambridge Favourite”. People used to come knocking at the door asking for them as they has such a good flavour. Arthur used to take great care of his strawberry plants at the back end of winter he dug between the rows and in May they would lay straw between the rows to protect the fruit from getting splashed with mud when it rained. He set six rows of strawberries a year and they were grown and picked in rotation to make sure plants were healthy. Each summer there were lots of skylarks and they used to build their nests under the strawberry plants. Towards the end of his working life Arthur, Pete’s Dad used to sell his produce around Melbourne on a Friday and Saturday. He had a Morris Traveller Car and loaded up the back and the roof rack with crates of produce. Photographs courtesy of Peter Worrall

A young Peter Worrall on the tractor with German POW late 1940s Frank Worrall with Son Alec outside Wisteria House, Church Street


FOR THE LOVE OF LETTUCE Carnival King: Henry Richard Dove Senior; Queen: Annie Dove; Attendants: Mary Stafford, Miss Smith (Clarence Smith Coal Merchants sister) Ethel Smith. later Nathan Dove’s wife, taken in 1926 Photographs courtesy of Sheila Blood A Melbourne Hoe - Photograph by Pam Gill


The daughter of Henry Dove, inventor of The Melbourne Hoe Walter Jackson who lived at The Hollies in Derby Road was Sheila Blood’s Great Grandfather. Walter and his wife Fanny had thirteen children. The family were very successful Market Gardeners on the land at the end of Cockshut Lane, they grew a variety of vegetables and strawberries which they sold at Derby Market. They were Methodists and always went by Carriage to the Methodist Chapel. Fanny was affectionately known as “Satin Fanny” as she was always well dressed. Several of Walter’s sons became Market Gardeners including Samuel Jackson of Kings Newton, Ewart Jackson of Ramsley Fields and Walter Jackson of Sladefield House. Annie Jackson the eldest daughter of Walter and Fanny Jackson married Henry Richard Dove who was a blacksmith with a forge in Derby Road, where Doves Garage is today. Henry made tools for the local Market Gardeners. His son Henry Richard Dove Junior joined him in the Forge when he left School they made spades and hoes, repaired gardeners implements and ploughs. Following conversations with the Market Gardeners Henry Junior, Sheila Bloods Father, designed a swan-necked hoe – the Melbourne Hoe – which was patented to protect the design, they are still used today.

Melbourne. He had a taxi business and ran the Telephone Exchange at Exchange House in Potter Street. Although everyone worked very hard Melbourne had a real sense of community and everyone was close. A highlight of the year was always Melbourne Market Gardeners Carnival and Fete. The Market Gardeners Association organised it and the decorated lorries and people in fancy dress processed around the village and along Pool Road to Kings Field. Sheila’s parents Henry and Annie Dove were Carnival King and Queen twice! After the procession everyone dressed in their best clothes and headed down to Kings Field where big marquees were set up for refreshments, bands played and there were attractions for children. People laid pennies along the wall at the edge of Melbourne Pool and the money was donated to The Women’s Hospital in Friargate Derby.

With the growing popularity of motorised vehicles developing from a blacksmith to a mechanic was a natural progression. Doves Forge gradually became Doves Garage and Petrol Station as Motor Cars became more popular. The petrol pumps were installed in the 1930 and as cars became more popular the blacksmiths declined. Sheila’s Uncle Walter had the first motor car in

Doves Blacksmith & Garage July 1951 Mr Bexon, Norman Dove, Uncle Hubert, Dad - Henry Richard Dove


Photography: Chris Brown



Photographer Christopher Mear was born in 1990 and having completed a BA Hons in Fine Art Photography is based in Ashby de la Zouch at the heart of The National Forest in Leicestershire. He has published five books to date, including, Photography ‘For The Preservation Of Disintegrating Histories’ (2012), 'Life Is Life, Hakuna Matata' (2013) and ‘Coalville Photographed’ (2016). His first book, ‘Just Passing By’ was published by Snibston Discovery Museum (Leicestershire) in 2014, following a six-month residency at the museum. Christopher’s first solo exhibition, entitled Disintegrating Histories, was organised by Snibston Discovery Museum in 2013. Christopher Mear has been the recipient of a number of awards, including the Free Range Art Award (2010).

Christopher Mear specialises in portrait and documentary photography. Since 2012, he has worked with many clients, including; The National Forest, People Express, Leicestershire County Council and The Woodland Trust. In 2016 he worked with Melbourne Festival, People Express and Talking Birds creating stunning images for a small taster project as a lead in to For the Love of Lettuce in 2017. During 2017 Christopher has built a strong relationship with all three Market Gardeners after regular visits to photograph the day-to-day life at the Market Gardens and the beautiful produce. Christopher Mear is represented by Degree Art in London. 07976 402200









EMMA PEGG Designer

Emma is an illustrator and designer with a passion for set design living in Nottingham. She studied Architecture before embarking on a Summer School in Set Design for Film & Television which led to her working as the design department assistant on This Morning. She says she wanted to be a set designer for as long as she can remember. Since returning to the Midlands a few years ago, Emma has been fortunate to work on several exciting projects in theatre and other creative disciplines, including painting a mural for Madhatters Tearoom in Kimberley, designing tile formats for Amtico in Coventry and making an installation shown at this year’s Festival of Leisure to display the work produced by participants of the Crafty Chatters project, run by People Express. Her theatre work includes designing and making posters, props, sets, a puppet and painting scenic art for various East Midlands-based theatre companies 42

such as Arletty Theatre, Fishhouse Theatre, New Perspectives, 2Magpies and Mansfield Palace Theatre’s youth theatre. Emma is an active member of the Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham having designed God of Carnage (2013), Bedroom Farce (2015) and Betrayal (2016) and painted for many shows. Emma first worked with Melbourne Festival in 2016 when she created a set of masks inspired by varieties of lettuce to launch the 2017 For the Love of Lettuce project. This year she has created a stunning installation Nature & Nuture featuring the nurturing hands of a market gardener in the Senior Citizen Centre garden. Tel: 07890 163213


Photography: Janet Vaughan: Talking Birds Sharon Brown: Melbourne Festival.





ALISTAIR GENTRY Artist and Writer

Alistair Gentry is a writer and artist or an artist and writer… sometimes other things, too. He often works very closely with the communities of particular places, whether this is in the usual sense of a settled and defined place, or a temporary and distributed community of shared interests, e.g. a Festival audience. He is inspired by historical and contemporary folklore, traditional storytelling, and magical or esoteric practices of Britain, Europe and Asia. He is also known to like the uncanny valley, silly costumes and a touch of absurdity. Alistair’s Mel Bear of Melbourne will be sharing his interpretation of tales of Melbourne’s Market Gardening past. The opportunity to create a new folkloristic character for Melbourne combines his interests in anthropology, storytelling and live improvised performance with something that he always welcomes – the chance to work with a community that has a strong sense of its own identity. 07931 454236

Rosie is an emerging composer, events manager and educator. Rosie graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire under Howard Skempton, Sean Clancy and Errollyn Wallen. She grew up in rural Somerset as part of a farming family. She is now based in Birmingham but still finds elements of her upbringing creeping into her work. Rosie has recently completed a commission for Spectrum Singers in Wales as part of the Adopt-A-Composer scheme (a Making Music, PRS and Sound and Music partnership) inspired by Dyffryn House and Gardens near Cardiff, the home of plant hunter Reginald Cory. This piece was premiered and recorded on July 8th to be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in January 2018. As well as a composer Rosie is also a festival organiser, she has been the Artistic Director of Frontiers Festival, Assistant Producer of TEDxSkoll and Assistant Producer of Birmingham Weekender. As a composer Rosie’s commission for The Love of Lettuce involves gathering sounds and words by exploring the area, meeting with local residents and drawing on the oral histories already shared and using this as both the basis and inspiration to create a sound work to be presented at the Melbourne Festival. The manifestation of this work will be a musical trail where at different sections listeners can hear a part of the piece and allow the audience to really get inside the piece and discover Melbourne and its Market Gardening history.



For the Love of Lettuce has also inspired work by...


Garden Design & Sculpture Popular Melbourne Garden Designer Ross Danby has combined his skills as a garden designer and stone sculptor to become a key member of the team working on For The Love of Lettuce this summer. Ross has been a garden designer for over 20 years and has a natural feeling for how to make the best of a garden however big or small. He discovered his talent for stone carving initially carving features for clients’ gardens and the talent has turned into a passion.


Stephen Parker is a sculptor, ceramicist, woodturner, writer, poet, photographer and starving artist! Born and Bred in Nottingham (1959), Stephen moved to Derby in 1994 just as his interest in art took off. His artistic journey started with the written word, verse and his first step into visual arts was photography focussing on nature and the natural world and then the human body as subject matter. His First 3D pieces were ’relief works’ in plaster. In 2004 he attended the University of Derby obtaining a 2:1 Degree in Fine Art helping him gain a wider understanding of art and its techniques. Stephen creates sculptures in metal, ceramics and up-cycled materials. Having taken part in Melbourne Festival several times Melbourne is his artistic home, he says “Melbourne was the first place any of my work was displayed and, later, the first location I exhibited and sold my art”. This commission is inspired by The Melbourne Snail who loves lettuce as much as we do, for one weekend South Derbyshire’s snail population is taking over Melbourne to help us celebrate our mutual love of lettuce. Look out for snails in unexpected places around the Art & Architecture Trail. 07941 779973

When he first heard about For The Love of Lettuce last year Ross immediately volunteered to get involved. Ross has worked closely with the local Market Gardeners and with designer Emma Pegg to create the raised beds at Melbourne Senior Citizen Centre for her installation Nature & Nurture. Ross is also creating raised beds filled with locally grown produce at Melbourne Vicarage and pop-up allotments in the Market Place, Melbourne Assembly Rooms, Castle Square and elsewhere. Ross has taken For the Love of Lettuce to heart and it has inspired him to create a beautiful sculpted stone leaf with the words from The Rain a poem by W H Davies which will be exhibited for the first time at Melbourne Festival alongside Ross’s other stonework at The Dower House. 07867 540209

DWANE READS Performance Poet

Dwane Reads has been performing in different guises since 1985 Live Art, Music & Poetry. He is appearing at the Melbourne Festival with a new book Slogans Soundbites & Poetry inspired by the theme For The Love of Lettuce – a series of new poems about the Market Gardeners and the vegetables they grow – sold in aid of The Alzheimer's Society. Grab a map and find him before he's gone! 07789 880688

When will people realise vegetables are just like people? we don’t all grow the same

For the love of

like vegetables in the acres lapping up the rain


nothing you can do will alter I know this to be a fact big, short, weathered, odd-shaped, fat just different varieties like humans in their skin vegetables are like people odd-shaped, fat, or thin.



By Dwane Reads

For the Love of Lettuce is a collaboration between Melbourne Festival, People Express and Talking Birds supported by a Sharing Heritage Grant from The Heritage Lottery Fund.

talking birds pictures, projects & thoughts

2018 If you would like to contribute to this project or would like more information please contact... email: Tel: 07765 819428

D E S I G N E D A N D P R I N T E D BY O R I G I N D E S I G N - M E L B O U R N E

Vegetables Are Like People

Love of lettuce  

Melbourne Festival Project

Love of lettuce  

Melbourne Festival Project