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Rose Nursery, Leys Laundry

The history of the nursery and laundry on Arbury Road

For historical maps of this area see the following web site:

For a detailed history of the property from which most of these notes are taken see:


The enclosure map of this year shows Eleanor and Robert Sparrow as separate occupiers of various plots in this area.


Plots belonging to Robert Sparrow sold at auction. They amounted to 38 acres; plot 10 became Leys Farm. George Roe was one of the purchasers. The Roe family let the land for most of the time they owned it.


John Moore and family, farming 27 acres


John Moore farmer of 30 acres employing 3 men


Eliza Roe inherits property from her husband, George Hartwell Roe. He was a jeweller, watchmaker and silversmith with premises first in Market Street then at 7 Market Hill from 1843.

John Bester moves his rose nursery from Grantchester Walk to Milton Road


John Bester, 34, and family. Nurseryman and armer, 10 men and a boy.

An 1885 shows the land as ‘Besters Farm.’ The Rose nursery was run by John Bester and there was an orchard where later Orchard, Highfield and Leys Avenues were built.


Leys School became tenant of the site. At Christmas 1887 they moved the school farm and laundry to the site.


In August there was a serious fire at the farm.

Elizabeth Swann inherited property from her mother Eliza Roe


Charles Free, 47, farm manager

Susan Free, 42

Thomas Spalding, 54, farm servant

Four laundry workers

In 1901, the Leys School was running the farm, a laundry and orchard at this location.


(Leys School Farm)

Charles Free, farm bailiff

Susan Free

Susan Free, niece

(Leys School Laundry)

Frederick Metcalfe, taxidermist

Amy Metcalfe, laundress

Shirley Hugh Metcalfe, 13, son

By 1917 the school had given up the laundry and farm. Ernest Wilderspin was the farm foreman.

In 1927 Cambridge Estates Ltd bought the Leys Laundry Farm in October. Charles Alder was the last tenant. He was the manager of Stetchworth Dairy.


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