Back in Time – Memories by Mr J McNaughton
I know some of you in B. A. G. A. have memories that can backtrack a little further than mine, However the following lines may bring back a few, for you, and introduce new members who were not in the area as to how things were.
Those of you who remember comedian Rob Wiltons,s catch Phrase “The day the war broke out”, well I was born a few days after in 1940 at 22 Forresters Road. By the the mid 1940s I was beginning to notice that my Dad was a keen gardener with just over 1,000 sq yards of ground at the back of the house.. Like many people during the war and into the early 1950s, we also kept three pigs ,two dozen hens, and a few geese as well as a fair sized vegetable plot.The pigs we kept in an old Anderson shelter with a small run, the hens were along side the pigs in large sized pen, and the geese we kept on the lawn near the house. They made a hell of a mess of the lawn I can tell you. By Christmas Uncle Bill Lord helped dad get them ready for the table, This was when I was about four years old, glad to see them go. Being small, the geese looked like Pterodactyls, anyway I could have my play area back.
As I said previously dad was a gardener, and in 1946 B.A.G.A. was formed, so dad joined on the 21 November1946 No 109. Mr J D Guy who was a founder member, was the secretary at that time, he lived at “Norwood” Sapcote road Burbage ,not many houses had numbers in those days. B.A.G.A. was also a member of the National Allotments & Gardens Society Ltd, which at that time had over 4,000 Societies associated with it.
Before 1953 Brookside did not exist, so coming from Hinckley along the Burbage Road, from the right hand to Sketchley Hill was all fields.The old part of Forresters Road and Sunny Hill. Was the first road on the right you came to with any development,and some of those plots were not built on until the mid 1950s. A very rural Parish.
Burbage contained many acres of plant nurseries. In 1916 on the Hinckley Road, opposite Hastings High School playing field, there was was 2 ¼ acres. Then along Grove Road, on the site of the present Infant School, was all nursery extending over the Wesley walk footpath .Further down Grove road on the right into Sketchley road ,was the main part of the Burbage nurseries established in 1773.In the early part of this century the proprietor was Mr hurst who resided at” The Grove” since demolished to make way for Grosvenor Crescent. In the 1930s Mr George Geary F.R I.C.S .was the proprieter.In it hey day the Burbage Nurseries covered over fifty acres. It was a general type, selling trees, ornamental trees shrubs, roses etc .
On a particular Sunday in Summer,when the roses were in full bloom the gates would be opened for the public to stroll around, and donations were collected for the local Darby & Joan.
One of my Dads receipts I have is dated March 1937 and was for 50 green privet @ seven shillings,25 golden privet @ sixteen shillings, the telephone had just been changed from 27 to227 because many more houses were being connected to the exchange.
There were another two nurseries in Burbage, smaller than the others, yet both were important. The first in Occupation Road(now Crossways) owned by Mr Percy Robinson. He was a specialist Chrysantheum grower. He was still in 1955. From his catalogue of 1935 you could buy choice Japanese varieties from Five shillings a dozen, new varieties would cost one and six each.
The last nursery to close in Burbage was Herbert Robinsons “Victoria Nurseries” on Coventry road where Robinson Way is now situated. This was a unique nursery in that Herbert Robinson was Rose, Pyrethrum, Delphinium and Apple breeder. I believe ,it was in 1950s he was awarded the MBE for his sevices to Horticulture. Many of his roses were sold internationally, though Idoubt that many are now on the market, however .
I Iist some you may remember:
- Hybrid Tea- Year Produced
- Elaine(1050) Pink
- Moon beam(1950) Pale Yellow
- Gay Crusader(1948) Orange Scarlet yellow outside
- Princess Marina (1935) Light coppery orange salmon