Nursery Staff

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During the nineteenth century the numbers of nurseries in the country increased. They varied enormously in size and success. Some were reliant on their initial owner and did not continue to do well after the owner's death, though several around Manchester carried on trading for a while, with widows and daughters in charge. Many small nurseries relied completely on the family to provide the workforce.

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However, others employed large numbers of staff. In the 1851 census some areas recorded the number of people working for the owner. In Moss Side in Manchester, Hodgson Bigland employed 39 men and 3 boys and in the same area John Shaw had 18 men and 2 apprentices.

In April 1851 nine people were employed at Caldwell's. See Ledger 14 which shows the record of those who were employed between 26 April 1844 and 27 September 1852. Throughout those eight and a half years, the working week was six days and pay was just 1 shilling and 10 pence per day.

More information about the nursery workforce mentioned in Ledger DDX 363/14 can be found in the attached document.


Bonnie the cart horse.

Nurseries were a good place to train — either to work in the same field or as a gardener. William Caldwell (1766-1844) went to the Knutsford nursery of John Nickson in 1780 to train, even though his family had the nursery at Knowsley. Similarly, Charles Bannerman, the son of the Liverpool nurseryman Alexander Bannerman, went to Kent to train in the nurseries of Cormack, Son and Sinclair.

You can find some of the staff associated with Caldwell's in more recent times listed in the attached document and their memories of life at the nurseries are included in the menu section Memories.

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