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Laxton Catalogues at The Higgins
Laxton's - Seedsmen, Nurserymen and Florists
 63a High Street

Home | Introduction |  Design Changes | Price Changes |  Contents Sources | Images


Laxton Vegetable Seeds Catalogue 1945The local firm Laxtons produced catalogues each year, with different titles to promote the products they wished to sell, e.g. Rose Trees, Vegetable and Flower Seeds, Fruit Trees, Small Fruits and Shrubs and Vegetable Seeds.

Some included prices for garden tools, potting compost, manure, insecticides, fumigants, weed killer, bulbs and garden ornaments.

The collection of catalogues at Bedford Museum (The Higgins) covers the years from 19351949. During this period, which includes World War II, the design, quality and content of the catalogues had to change and prices increased. For example:

Design Changes

  • 1936 Rose Trees catalogue had colour photographs of red roses on front and back covers (Mrs Edward Laxton on the front and Bedford Crimson on the back).

  • 1937 Vegetable and Flower Seed had a coloured photograph of single chrysanthemums on the cover. It had 40 pages and many black and white photographs inside. On the inside cover was a self promotion article thanking customers for their support and explaining how very good their products were.

  • 1942 Vegetable and Flower Seed had a designed cover in black and white and one colour and only one black and white photograph inside. There were only 32 pages of much poorer quality paper.

  • 1945  Fruit Trees, Small Fruits and Shrubs 8 pages.

  • 1945 Vegetable Seeds 17 pages.
    Both these 1945 catalogues had a designed cover and were printed on very poor quality paper.

  • 1948 Vegetable and Flower Seed had a designed cover in red, black and white with 28 pages, no photographs and poor quality paper.

  • By 1949 a colour catalogue was being produced again. Fruit Trees, Small Fruits and Roses had coloured photographs on the inside and outside of the front and back cover. The paper was glossy and good quality. Inside, several black and white photographs had appeared again.

Price Changes

Item 1937 1942 1949
Runner beans
'Laxton Czar'
1/6 per pint 2/6 per pint 4/- per pint
Onion seeds
'Sandy Prize'
1/6 per ounce 3/- per ounce 3/6 per ounce
Flower Seeds
3d to 6d per packet 6d to 1/- per packet
Hybrid Tea Roses 1/3 each 4/- each


The Laxton seed catalogues show the huge number of vegetable and flower seeds and many, many varieties, on offer. The same goes for the fruit trees, small fruit and shrubs, and rose catalogues.

During the Second World War years Laxtons indicated to their customers that there were some shortages but post-war things got much easier.

  • 1937  'Vegetable and Flower Seed' had a Tool Section of about 45 items all priced.

  • 1945  Vegetable and Flower Seed  - the Tool Section could only offer "prices on application" for most items.

  • 1945  'Vegetable and Flower Seed'  - on page 1, customers are advised that there is a shortage of fruit trees.

  • By 1949, matters had improved. The 'Fruit Trees, Small Fruits and Roses' catalogue includes an article 'New Fruits 1949' describing their healthy new stock of many new varieties of Fruit Trees which were "highly recommended by the national trials of the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley".

More details  from the Laxton catalogues showing the wide variety of plants and seeds for sale:

Information from Jennifer Salter 2011

Selected Sources

Bedford Museum (The Higgins)

  • Laxton Catalogues 19351949 at Bedford Museum

Bedford Local Studies Library and Heritage Library (HL) has more information about the Laxton family and their business

  • Bedford Local Directories.

  • Where to Buy at Bedford, an illustrated local review, 1891 p.51

  • Thomas Laxton and his successors. The Gardeners Chronicle, 29th November, 1930

  • Modern Florists:  Messrs Laxton's New Shop Front. Bedfordshire Times and Independent, 29th September, 1933 p.12

  • Laxtons to close down nurseries. Bedfordshire Times, 13th July, 1956

  • Famous Bedford firm now closes down. Bedfordshire Times 7th July, 1957

  • E. A. L. Laxton noted horticulturist and plant breeder. Bedfordshire Times, 22nd February, 1963

  • Wildman, R. Laxton of Bedford: the family and firm, Bedfordshire Magazine, volume 23, no.182, 1992, p.244 ff.

  • Readman, Sue. Laxton of Bedford: pioneers of plant-breeding, Bedfordshire Magazine, volume 23, no.182, 1992. p.250 ff.
  • Ricketts, Bob. The Laxtons in Bedford (1879-1957), Bedford Architectural Archaeological & Local History Society, Newsletter 82, October 2008, pp.14-28

See also:


Laxton Catalogue Laxton Catalogue Laxton Catalogue Laxton Catalogue

Images from Laxton catalogues Cecil Higgins Art Gallery and Bedford Museum. Not for publication or reproduction for commercial purposes

Page last updated: 13th July 2012