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Re: MYATT Joseph 1855 Manor Farm, England
Posted by: Noreen Ayton Date: October 26, 2001 at 14:19:44
In Reply to: Re: MYATT Joseph 1855 Manor Farm, England by Mark Myatt of 476

Joseph Myatt (or 'Strawberry Joe' as I've come to think of him) is my great-great-grandfather on my mother's side. I have a small colour copy of a portrait of him which has been handed down the male line, painted around the 1840s?, holding a small woven basket of strawberries. These were most likely his famous 'British Queen' variety which he presented to Queen Victoria and which earned him a silver medal from Prince Albert. I also have a colour photograph of a piece of fine cross-stitch embroidery, presumably done by one of his family, of these same fruits and a colour copy of a childish painting of Manor Farm.

I have visited the St Paul's area of Deptford, London, where he once had his market garden. This was decimated by th arrival of the railways in London in the 1840s, one of the lines being driven right through his fields.The area now contains a number of very imposing Victorian houses in a wide road with many side roads leading off at right angles. These were obviously built on land once farmed by him, the scene of his famous strawberry feasts which went on for several days and were only accessible to (presumably quite well-off) ticket-holders. A contemporary newspaper account of one of these makes it sound a very impressive affair with girls dressed as Greek goddesses arriving on highly decorated carts, coloured marquees, flags and bunting and fireworks to end the evening's festivities. Strawberries, of course, were ever-plentiful.

I would be very interested to hear from you, especially if you are related in any way to Joseph Myatt.



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