Following on from its show at the Museum of Richmond and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, the exhibition has come to Squire’s in Twickenham to discover the hidden history of market gardening in South West London.
The exhibition, which is organised by the Environment Trust, traces the growth, peak and decline of the production of fruit, vegetables and flowers in the area. It reveals the rapid and radical change of land use arising from London’s ever-growing population, from the desperate need to increase food production in the 1800’s, to the demand for housing for the new ‘commuter classes’ in the 20th century.
An invaluable collection of the memories of local people who worked in the nurseries and market gardens of Hounslow, Isleworth, Brentford, Twickenham and Hampton, right up until the last days of the industry in the 1970’s, will be shared.
Discover the innovative methods of growing and the specialist varieties developed in the area, designed in order to produce more efficient, year-round crops, as well as to combat overseas’ competition. The exhibition will also look at local markets as well as the various ways in which fresh produce was transported every day to Covent Garden. It will show the effect of World War Two on the industry, the Dig for Victory campaign and how prisoners of war were used as workers on the land. The coming of the railways in the mid-1800’s, the impact of new technology, such as motor vehicles, airfreight and refrigeration, and the legacies left by the industry in the area today, will also be covered.
The exhibition is open every day until 15th February and admission is free.