Market Garden Heritage Project – Ivy’s Family Photos

  • 10th October 2019

Over the summer we have been meeting lots of people at events, as part of the Market Gardening Heritage Project, who have been sharing stories, memories and photos about market gardening in the Vale of Evesham.

 Market gardening collage

The project, funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Historic England, seeks to record and research the important part of the Vale’s heritage, and then celebrate and promote it


One lady who we met was Ivy, who shared a number of photos relating to her family who were market gardeners in Bretforton.

Dray loaded with pot hampers which carried the crops


The newspaper cutting celebrated Harold Smith’s victory with a winning bundle of asparagus in 1968. After 30 years of entering the Vale of Evesham Asparagus Growers Association Show it was his first win, beating off 68 competitors. It was all the more impressive as he had just half an acre, a smaller ground that some of the others. His winning bundle of 120 heads was then sold to a Birmingham market for £21 (around £390 in today’s money).

Judges with Harold Smith’s winning asparagus


The show took place at Badsey but it was touch and go whether it would go ahead with bad weather in the week beforehand. It did go ahead, and with more entries than the last year. As well as taking part in the competitions the shows were important for other reasons too. They were an opportunity to celebrate local growers and for them to meet national market representatives, see demonstrations from agricultural companies with their new products, fly the flag for local produce, and for growers to socialise and compare experiences.

Onions grown during the war


Washing asparagus, 1932

Harold with his asparagus, early 1940s. This bundle made 4/6

Pinks, 1930s. Many market gardeners also grew flowers for sale too.


We’ve really enjoyed looking through the family photos and seeing them in action as they carry out their various jobs with the different produce.


We are still looking for more images of market gardening which we can use as part of the project. Many photos in the collections we have acquired in the past are of buildings and general landscapes and landmarks, and everyday work such as market gardening is often not included. If you have some which you would be willing to let us copy and use for the exhibitions and resource packs we’ll be creating we would be very grateful. Please email or ring 01905 766352.

The project is funded by National Lottery Heritage Fund

One response to “Market Garden Heritage Project – Ivy’s Family Photos”

  1. Ian Murray says:

    My wife Claire Gisborne whose dad was an Evesham plum growing market gardener with land in Hampton and Badsey, remembers loading railway box vans with the plum crop in the mid 1960s the plums went to market in Birmingham, later her dad had a lorry. He also dad grew small amounts of vegetables too which were sold in Evesham market or swapped for meat at the butchers.

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