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Watervress beds on The Moor, Fowlmere (photo J Bishop)

Fowlmere Watercress beds / RSPB Reserve

History of the watercress beds

Vanishing Cambridgeshire p.109 contains extracts from publications describing the watercress industry:

Large beds of watercress have been laid down at Fowlmere where water is raised by a dam to spread over the low-lying land. An industry of some dimensions has grown up and there is a growing demand from London. (CDN 22.5.1905)

Watercress beds west of Fowlmere OS map 1901

In the late 1930s about ten men were employed full time with another three being taken on at busy periods. There were also six women who bunched up the cress. Lorries loaded with wicker baskets full of cress went to London’s Covent Garden Market. … The main cress beds ceased production after the 1950s although W Hallworth was still supplying the markets and the village in 1965. (L W Price, Foulmire Moor and Fowlmere RSPB reserve, 1994)

RSPB Fowlmere

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