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Did you know that one of the Knutsford nursery customers was a first-class cricketer? George Leycester of Toft Hall, Knutsford was a wicket-keeper. His first first-class match was at Lords in May 1790. He took a wicket and scored 19 runs in the first innings and scored 11 not out in the second innings — the MCC had been set a modest target of 36 by Hornchurch. His final match was also at Lords, in July 1808, when he was playing for Surrey. Despite his being stumped for just 2 runs in the...

Although the town is now spelled Altrincham, it retains the old pronunciation when it had a g instead of a c. And the Altringham carrot dates from that period. Christopher Stocks, in his book Forgotten Fruits describes it as "unfeasibly long". It could grow up to three feet long but was very narrow. Ideal for deep rich soils, no doubt, but easy to break when harvesting if the soil was at all clay-like. Despite this it was very popular — Caldwell's sold it to many...

This website can be very useful for people researching their family history. We have been contacted by two whose forebears were nurserymen. One was William Butler of Liverpool. Recently we have heard from a descendant of the Cormack family whose nurseries were in New Cross, Kent, now part of south London. The Cormack's had their town outlet at the Bedford Conservatory in Covent Garden and a beautiful print (from 1831) can still be bought. Caldwell's sold a pea known as...

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