Cucumbers in Cheshunt
Pathe Film Reel
By Nicholas Blatchley
Cheshunt’s glasshouse industry began in 1806, to serve London by way of Covent Garden market, the attraction of the area being that it was within easy horse and cart range of Covent Garden, and that it had an abundant supply of underground water. The main crops were tomatoes and cucumbers, although flowers and house plants were also widely grown. In 1967, a quarter of the country’s glasshouses were in the area.
The gardener’s name in this clip is given as a Mr Pollard. The Pollards ran one of the larger nurseries in the Cheshunt area, specialising at first in roses, though diversifying into tomatoes and, as here, cucumbers.
The industry declined in the 1960s and 1970s, largely due to increasing fuel prices and international competition, and most local nurseries had closed by the end of the 1970s.