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Thatcham Town Council's Heritage Working Party unveils blue plaque celebrating horticulture history at Thatcham Garden Centre




The history of horticulture was celebrated this weekend with a blue plaque unveiling at Thatcham Garden Centre.

The plaque was unveiled by Thatcham Town Council’s heritage working party and is part of a series of planned annual installations.

The unveiling itself was seen by Mayor of Thatcham John Boyd and honorary president of the Berkshire Gardens Trust Dr Christina Hill-Williams.

Thatcahm Mayor John Boyd taking part in the commemorations. (52135908)
Thatcahm Mayor John Boyd taking part in the commemorations. (52135908)

John Boyd said: "It was nice to be going along to do something recognising the site for its historical importance to the town, as part of Thatcham’s past.

"There were a number of people who stopped to see part of the occasion.

"It was nice to see people stop and see what was going on and why it was going on."

Blue plaque unveiling in Thatcham.Nick Young, Deputy Manager Mike Forster, Mayor John Boyd and President Berkshire Gardeners Association Christina Hill-Williams.Ref: 41-1121 (52135910)
Blue plaque unveiling in Thatcham.Nick Young, Deputy Manager Mike Forster, Mayor John Boyd and President Berkshire Gardeners Association Christina Hill-Williams.Ref: 41-1121 (52135910)

He added: "They got to hear about the history of the place and why it was such an important part of Thatcham.

The other places that have been commemorated with such a plaque are the Kings Head Pub where the first mail run stopped, Thatcham Parish Hall which celebrates the election of its first female parish councillors and Wiltshire Tyres for its connection to Harry Lester.

This weekend's event was the fourth.

Blue Plaque at Thatcham Garden Centre. Ref: 41-1121 (52135912)
Blue Plaque at Thatcham Garden Centre. Ref: 41-1121 (52135912)

Chair of the Thatcham Town Council Heritage Working Party, Nathan Gregory said that people stopped to listen to the commemoration as well as have a look at the plaque.

He commented: "We were seeing people stop and read the plaque.

"It's reaching its aim, and keeping people better informed."

The plaque was unviled this Sunday 10. (52135906)
The plaque was unviled this Sunday 10. (52135906)

In the early 1900s, the site was called Henwick Fruit & Flower Farm and was specifically a school for 'lady gardeners' with one student, Mabel Sowerby, going on to win several national gardening awards.

The farm, over time, became known as the French Gardens, due to a French cultivation system it used, which is the planting of complimentary flowers alongside edible produce.

It then became a mushroom farm before it was finally developed, in the 80s, to the centre that it is today.

The heritage working party is now looking for suggestions for other people, events or places, within Thatcham, that can be commemorated with a plaque.

It said to send any suggestions to events.officer@thatchamtowncouncil.gov.uk



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