Melbourne in South Derbyshire was known in the twentieth century for its Market Gardens and the high quality produce grown in the parish. Sadly progress has led the industry to decline from 150 Market Gardens a century ago to only 3 in 2017! In 2016 Melbourne Festival Arts Trail showcased a small pilot project, “For the Love of Lettuce”, highlighting Melbourne Market Gardens. The feedback was so enthusiastic that in 2017, thanks to a Sharing Communities Grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Melbourne Festival worked with People Express and Talking Birds on a project celebrating Melbourne’s Market Gardening Heritage. We would like to say a BIG thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund for all of their support.
This website shares our journey to record the past and look to the future. During the year photographer Christopher Mear has worked closely with Heaths, Jacksons, and Sharps, the three remaining Market Gardeners, to photograph the Market Gardeners at work and their produce.
During the year we have interviewed many local residents who worked in the Market Gardens and collected photographs of the halcyon days of the Market Gardening industry after WW2. This information has added to the collection previously held by the Melbourne Historical Research Group which they kindly shared with us.
We have commissioned five emerging artists to take their inspiration from the photographs and memories recorded during the interviews to create a number of works celebrating Melbourne Market Gardening.