Xmera / Garden History / Nurseries: Winfield

George Winfield, Gloucester

In the 1820s George Winfield (1804-67) established himself as a market gardener in Water Street in a house and garden adjoining the site of St Oswald's priory. In 1832 it was reported that he was 'digging a potatoe burrow' in his garden, when he discovered a stone coffin. Although he was illiterate (he marked the marriage register in 1827), he proved to be an astute businessman. In addition to running his market garden, he rented out pig sties by the week. The 'colony' of sties in Sweetbriar Street were regarded as deleterious to the health and respectability of the city. In 1854 he acquired the nursery that James Daniel Wheeler had held in Worcester Street, adjoining the South Wales Railway arches and offered the existing stock for sale 'at a considerable reduction from the current prices'.

In May 1856 he and his son George announced the opening of their wholesale and retail greengrocery business, which traded in Eastgate Market on a daily basis. In December 1858 George Winfield junior, 'Gardener, Fruiterer and Seedsman' announced that he was setting up business at 7 Westgate Street. The partnership with his father was dissolved in January 1859. George Winfield senior continued his daily stall in the market, while his son expanded the trade in seeds. He inherited a canny business sense from his father, advertising in 1864 when his his stock of seed potatoes would arrive at the Docks and offering a discount to those who bought directly at the ship side. In 1865 he moved to larger premises next door at 8 Westgate Street, so that he could expand his wholesale seed business. He also began to advertise a wide selection of imported bulbs. In addition to his reatil premises, George junior also had a house and nursery in Sandhurst Road.

In 1873 George junior, finding himself in failing health, transferred the seed business and premises in Westgate Street to his brother Alfred, who subsequently diversified into the supply of hops and manure. The nursery in Sandhurst Road continued to operate. In 1886 the Westgate Street seed warehouse was transferred to the firm of George Winfield and Son, George junior having been joined by his eldest son Albert George Winfield (d. 1940). His youngest son Sidney John Winfield (d. 1937) developed a market garden in Longford. In 1893 they moved to larger premises at 154 Westgate Street, which had formerly housed an auction house.

Albert George Winfield was succeeded by his son George John Winfield (d. 1992). The company operated a retail premises in Westgate Street and a nursery in Longford until the late 1980s. The Westgate Street shop is now an antique centre and a hospital was built on the nursery site.