James Baines (1821 - 1867)

Diane visited the Bagshot website because she wanted information about where her great grandfather lived.  She wrote: [133]

My great grandfather (James Baines b1821) lived in Bagshot, in a house overlooking the cemetery where he is now buried.  Family history has it that he started Waterers Nursery and was cheated out of it as he couldn't read. Probably not true but an interesting story, and I wanted to know whether Waterers Nursery still exists and when it was started.

Also if there are any other descendants of his 7 daughters out there I would LOVE to hear from them.

Intrigued by the story I did a bit of research using Marie de G Eedle's excellent book. It looks as though the Waterer's nurseries in Bagshot started as an offshoot of Michael Waterer's nursery in Knaphill (Woking) which had started about 1800. There is an oblique reference that implies that Waterer had taken over a Bagshot nursery in 1828/9 on the death of its founder, John Taylor. There were many nurseries in the area.

There are references to "Michael Waterer (a nurseryman)" being a contributor in 1835-6 to a fund to build a new road from Bagshot to Windlesham (a road which to this day is called New Road). James Baines would have been 14/15 at this time, and it would seem that Waterer's was well established.  So it would seem that the family story is a little too fanciful.

Finally, Ian MacRae has provided a definitive answer:  "The title to the Bagshot Nursery seems quite clear. In 1828 the then holder John Taylor died and the Nursery (then much smaller) was purchased by Michael Waterer (1770 - 1842). When Michael Waterer died of cholera in 1842, he bequeathed the Bagshot Nursery to his younger brother John Waterer (1784 -1868), and the Knaphill Nursery which he also owned to his brother Hosea. When John died, testate, his estate was divided equably amongst his immediate family, the male members of which had all been directly involved in the running and expansion of the business. It is difficult to see how anyone else could have laid claim to any part of the Nursery." [iix9]

I found James' grave in Bagshot's cemetery.

general view of cemetery James Baines' headstone

Davina in writing to thank me for posting a question of hers said that she had looked up James Baines in the 1881 census and found the following:

Chapel Lane, Windlesham, Surrey, England

She also tells me that she has looked in the book "Nurserymen to the World" which is a local history of the local nurseries and the name Baines is not mentioned at all.

We see that the 1881 census contains rather more personal data than do today's censuses, and that the place names of Bagshot and Windlesham almost appear to be used interchangeable. We can also see that the 8 year old daughter attended school (that would have been Bagshot school, only a few yards from where she lived), but by the age of 11 the elder daughters were already working as domestic servants.

Andrew, an expatriate of the area, wrote from Australia to remind me that Waterers' does still exist, on a large site off the A30 (London Road) - or at least it did when he wrote.  Just what the commercial set up was, I do not know.  Some years previously Waterer's appeared to have been taken over by Notcutts' Garden Centres (a large chain with several sites across the southeast). The sign board on the A30  said "Notcutts Garden Center" with "Waterers Nurseries" underneath. Notcutts' web site said "Sharing the Bagshot site is Waterers Nurseries, one of the country's leading Rhododendron and Azalea specialists, and main provider of nursery stock to our garden centres in the south of the country."  Circa 2007 Notcutts decided to centralise all their nursery work elsewhere, retain Bagshot only as a retail outlet, and sell off the redundant land for housing. For a while the potential building land lay fallow and the sign boards no longer mentioned Waterers Nursery.  The housing estate was built, and soon after Notcutts announced that the site would be razed and a new retail outlet built combining their garden centre with a supermarket.  As the site was being razed in 2014 they announced that they were pulling out leaving the supermarket development.  [x]

Pink Pearl rhododrendron

Judi Rose adds to the saga of "who owned  or did what" with this contribution: I believed that a rhododendron Pink Pearl, and the Collins pear were hybridised at Bagshot in a nursery owned by my ancestors the Collins family in the 1700s - not sure of the exact date. I am still trying to track down a Collins pear (small fruit and wonderful autumn colour), but I did get a "pink pearl" from Waterers via my local garden centre. I hadn't told them about the Bagshot connection, so was suprised to read the information on the tag which claims that Michael Waterer took control of John Taylors nursery at Bagshot in 1829. My family's connection is some time before that. [iv09 x]

My family history is the Rose family from Bagshot and I believe married Collins.  My grandfather was James Rose, and my great Grandfather also James Rose.  [v16 x]

Gill wirites: Regarding the pink pearl rhododendron, I am lead to belive that it was either my great granfather William Gosden or Charles Rose who bred the pink pearl. On Charles' grave is writen 'pink pearl'. I am confused. [v9]  

The book "Nurserymen to the World" mentioned above (written and published by E J Willson 1989 ISBN 0-9514364-0-6) attributes the development of the Pink Pearl to John Waterer and its marketing to his son Gomer Waterer.  The author recounts a story that the plant went missing and was found in the garden of one of the nurserymen!  The book includes a photo of "Charlie Rose and Pink Pearl", but I can see no other mention of Charlie.  I imagine that it was nomal for a nursery's principal to be credited with his businesses' achievements rather than his employees.

There is a little more about the Waterer family here.

Diane, who made the original enquiry, about James Baines has written to tell me that since then she been able to accumulate a LOT more information about the Baines family which she will be pleased to share with others who may be interested. While Diane gave me permission to publish her email address I'll not do that as it risks her getting too much 'spam'. If you would like to contact Diane please use the message pad and I will forward your message to her.

From Anne: My uncle John (Jack) Caller was for many years with Waterers Nurseries and used to go to the Chelsea Flower Show to represent them. I have an old press cutting about that. He used to chat to the Queen Mother when she came to visit Chelsea! Waterers built a bungalow in the grounds of Waterers for him and this was for he and his wife to live in for the rest of their lives. Am not sure what his exact title/position was as I was very young at the time.  [Jun 14]

From Sheila : My 5 times great grandad was James Rose who married a Betty Collins, great story about the pink pearl, wish I could see the photo of him.  [2021 Oct]   

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