Market Gardening Heritage project gets underway

  • 29th January 2019


Driving over the bridge into Evesham you pass asparagus fields – a small remnant of the market gardening industry that thrived in the Vale of Evesham until the mid-20th century. A new project exploring and celebrating the market gardening heritage in the Vale is now underway and looking for volunteers. The key focus of this two year Heritage Lottery Fund project is memories and buildings, as both are at risk of soon being lost without record.

At one time, most of the local population were employed in market gardening. Each gardener rented narrow stripes of land for growing a mixture of vegetables, fruit, cut flowers and, at times, medicinal herbs, which were later sold at markets up and down the country. As all gardeners know, a shed is essential for storing equipment, produce and providing shelter. Market gardening was no exception: rows of timber, corrugated iron and occasionally brick built structures once lined the ends of grounds. Generally built to market gardeners own design and requirements, each was unique. Since the rise of commercial horticulture and decline of market gardening, these small buildings – locally known as ‘hovels’ – have been slowly disappearing. A survey to record surviving hovels within 11 parishes is now underway, thanks to the work of volunteers.

Comparison maps of hovel survival

Maps of the hovels survey area, showing the 1300+ that were built (left) and those that possibly or definitely remained in 2018 (right).

Alongside the physical remains of market gardening are stories to uncover and memories to capture. If you are interested in researching lost tales and recording recollections, or have memories that you wish to share, please get in touch with us.

Volunteer research training is taking place on Saturday 23rd February, 10-12 in Worcester, and Thursday 25th April, 2-4pm in Evesham. An oral history workshop is also taking place on Saturday 23rd February, 1-4pm in Worcester. For further details or to volunteer, please email or phone 01905 766352.


Project sponsor & partner logos


2 responses to “Market Gardening Heritage project gets underway”

  1. Karen Jennings says:

    My father and grandfather were market gardeners and i would like to share my memories.

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related news

  • 22nd May 2024
The New Burdens project

Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service (WAAS) is embarking on an exciting 2 year project to catalogue a range of public records as a result of New Burdens funding. The funding made available from central government compensates local authorities for increased activities that places of deposit such as WAAS may experience due to changes in legislation with the Public Records Act.

  • 27th June 2023
If only artefacts could talk…

Our Roots in Time project, based around 2022’s community excavation at Evesham’s New Farm Nature Reserve, has got us thinking about human nature. Prehistory is often thought of as being primitive – a time when life was just about survival and people were perhaps less intelligent than today. But archaeology shows us that this idea...

  • 31st March 2023
Badsey’s Big Dig

In May 2022, 19 test pits were excavated across Badsey village as part of the Small Pits, Big Ideas project.  Badsey is known to be in an area where there is evidence of early activity, but what could we find out about the medieval village? What is this all about? This community excavation was part of...