John Edward Lane (senior) | Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Rectory Lane Cemetery, Berkhamsted

Biography:
John Edward Lane (senior)
1808 –1889

John Edward Lane (senior)

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John Edward Lane is best known for his involvement in the family business, Lane’s Nurseries, a highly successful plant nursery, which at its height was of national and even international repute. Lane's Nurseries were originally established by John’s grandfather, Henry Lane, in about 1777 and, taken over on his death by his son and father of John, also called Henry Lane. It was really John Edward Lane Sr who developed the business. He leased land close to St John’s Well Lane (by the present Canal Fields) and also land stretching up to Greenway Common on the south side of the High Street. There were also orchards at Broadway (Bourne End) and the Balshaw Nurseries at Potten End. Cambridge Independent Press of 1841-2 records: In the course of the last summer, we had the pleasure to visit Messrs Lane’s nursery, and were highly gratified with the perfection to which they had brought that beautiful flower, the ROSE, of which they have an immense stock and an almost endless variety. In pots alone, Mesrss Lane have nearly 30,000 plants, and the skill and management required for the gathering in of this their harvest, and the continued outlay are so great that nothing but a very extensive sale can compensate. Special railways were put on: The great attraction of the bloom of roses this season in the south is beyond all experience, and thousand of persons leave London and its vicinity daily to witness the magnificent collections of Mr Rivers at Sawbridgeworth; Messrs Lane and Son. The influx of the visitor to the nurseries in Hertfordshire is so great, as to have induced the London and Birmingham Railway Company to fix an extra train for the season, which leaves the Euston Square station every morning, for which, as well as for other trains, day tickets are issued at one third the ordinary fares. Lane’s nurseries exhibited frequently at flower shows and horticultural exhibitions, and won many medals for garden plants, including roses, apples, and grapes – extraordinarily they were even exporting grape vines to Europe! On the 31st May 1856, at the Grand Horticultural Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Messrs Lane and son, Nurserymen, Great Berkhampstead won a prize of £10 for their 12 roses in pots, won £4 for 6 distinct kinds of rhododendrons, and £2 for 12 azaleas. The Garden Index of 1885 writes: ‘For upwards of half a century the name of John Lane of Berkhamsted, the present head of one of the oldest and best-known nursery firms in this country, has been familiar to horticulturists.’ Through his nursery interest, John Lane knew both Joseph Paxton, architect of the Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall, and his nephew William, who was agent at the nearby Ashridge Estate. It was not until the 1960s that the firm finally folded. The firm was, perhaps best known for the apple, the Lane’s Prince Albert. This was cultivated by Thomas Squire, a Berkhamsted Quaker of the Homestead, in 1841, the year of the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Berkhamsted on the way to stay with the Duke of Bedford at Woburn. Lane marketed the apple as ‘Lane’s Prince Albert’ to commemorate the visit.

Brewery business

John Edward also impressively developed a secondary business interest. Through marriage into Berkhamsted’s foremost brewing family, the Fosters, he also became the town’s prominent brewer at the Swan (now home to the Swan Youth Project). Here, he brewed his ‘celebrated Berkhampstead India Pale Ale….which as a pure and wholesome family beverage is not to be surpassed.’ He acquired a collection of pubs in and around Berkhamsted, including the Brownlow Arms, the George, The Greyhound and the Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace is of particular historical interest. When Lane acquired it in the early C19th, this was an unassuming beerhouse. In the 1850s Lane rebuilt the pub, adding a new front range, inspired by his acquaintance with Paxton and Paxton’s most magnificent creation, the Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall. The impressive façade of the Crystal Palace Pub was a triumphant expression of all of John’s main interests and an advert for his business successes as both horticulturalist and brewer. John Lane embraced industrialisation - he was a shareholder in the railways, a promoter of the Great Berkhampstead Gas Light and Coke Company, and also an inventor, taking out Patent 936 in 1868 for an improved heating system. He was also a significant property developer, owning many buildings in Berkhamsted, and a leading philanthropist and promoter of the town. ‘I am conscious of having always exerted myself for the general good of the town, and endeavoured to do the best I could for my fellow townsmen

Family

John married Sarah Foster, and became stepfather to her sons. She died in 1848 and is also buried here. John’s father, Henry Lane and his wife are to be found in Grave number 247. His sons John Edward Lane junior and Frederick Quincey Lane are to be found in Grave numbers 241 and 245. It is notable that graves of some of the Foster family are nearby, as are also those of the Meeks since Sarah Susannah Lane, daughter of Henry Lane married Richard Meek. John Edward Lane's second wife was Hannah, who was born in Chesham, the daughter of William Chilton. They married in Westminster on 12 June 1852. She was a widow also.
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John Edward Lane is best known for his involvement in the family business, Lane’s Nurseries, a highly successful plant nursery, which at its height was of national and even international repute.

Lane’s Nurseries were originally established by John’s grandfather, Henry Lane, in about 1777 and, taken over on his death by his son and father of John, also called Henry Lane. It was really John Edward Lane Sr who developed the business. He leased land close to St John’s Well Lane (by the present Canal Fields) and also land stretching up to Greenway Common on the south side of the High Street. There were also orchards at Broadway (Bourne End) and the Balshaw Nurseries at Potten End.

Cambridge Independent Press of 1841-2 records: In the course of the last summer, we had the pleasure to visit Messrs Lane’s nursery, and were highly gratified with the perfection to which they had brought that beautiful flower, the ROSE, of which they have an immense stock and an almost endless variety. In pots alone, Mesrss Lane have nearly 30,000 plants, and the skill and management required for the gathering in of this their harvest, and the continued outlay are so great that nothing but a very extensive sale can compensate.

Special railways were put on: The great attraction of the bloom of roses this season in the south is beyond all experience, and thousand of persons leave London and its vicinity daily to witness the magnificent collections of Mr Rivers at Sawbridgeworth; Messrs Lane and Son. The influx of the visitor to the nurseries in Hertfordshire is so great, as to have induced the London and Birmingham Railway Company to fix an extra train for the season, which leaves the Euston Square station every morning, for which, as well as for other trains, day tickets are issued at one third the ordinary fares.

Lane’s nurseries exhibited frequently at flower shows and horticultural exhibitions, and won many medals for garden plants, including roses, apples, and grapes – extraordinarily they were even exporting grape vines to Europe!

On the 31st May 1856, at the Grand Horticultural Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, Messrs Lane and son, Nurserymen, Great Berkhampstead won a prize of £10 for their 12 roses in pots, won £4 for 6 distinct kinds of rhododendrons, and £2 for 12 azaleas.

The Garden Index of 1885 writes: ‘For upwards of half a century the name of John Lane of Berkhamsted, the present head of one of the oldest and best-known nursery firms in this country, has been familiar to horticulturists.’

Through his nursery interest, John Lane knew both Joseph Paxton, architect of the Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall, and his nephew William, who was agent at the nearby Ashridge Estate.

It was not until the 1960s that the firm finally folded. The firm was, perhaps best known for the apple, the Lane’s Prince Albert. This was cultivated by Thomas Squire, a Berkhamsted Quaker of the Homestead, in 1841, the year of the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert to Berkhamsted on the way to stay with the Duke of Bedford at Woburn. Lane marketed the apple as ‘Lane’s Prince Albert’ to commemorate the visit.

Brewery business

John Edward also impressively developed a secondary business interest. Through marriage into Berkhamsted’s foremost brewing family, the Fosters, he also became the town’s prominent brewer at the Swan (now home to the Swan Youth Project). Here, he brewed his ‘celebrated Berkhampstead India Pale Ale….which as a pure and wholesome family beverage is not to be surpassed.’

He acquired a collection of pubs in and around Berkhamsted, including the Brownlow Arms, the George, The Greyhound and the Crystal Palace.

The Crystal Palace is of particular historical interest. When Lane acquired it in the early C19th, this was an unassuming beerhouse. In the 1850s Lane rebuilt the pub, adding a new front range, inspired by his acquaintance with Paxton and Paxton’s most magnificent creation, the Crystal Palace Exhibition Hall. The impressive façade of the Crystal Palace Pub was a triumphant expression of all of John’s main interests and an advert for his business successes as both horticulturalist and brewer.

John Lane embraced industrialisation – he was a shareholder in the railways, a promoter of the Great Berkhampstead Gas Light and Coke Company, and also an inventor, taking out Patent 936 in 1868 for an improved heating system.

He was also a significant property developer, owning many buildings in Berkhamsted, and a leading philanthropist and promoter of the town.

‘I am conscious of having always exerted myself for the general good of the town, and endeavoured to do the best I could for my fellow townsmen

Family

John married Sarah Foster, and became stepfather to her sons. She died in 1848 and is also buried here.

John’s father, Henry Lane and his wife are to be found in Grave number 247. His sons John Edward Lane junior and Frederick Quincey Lane are to be found in Grave numbers 241 and 245. It is notable that graves of some of the Foster family are nearby, as are also those of the Meeks since Sarah Susannah Lane, daughter of Henry Lane married Richard Meek.

John Edward Lane’s second wife was Hannah, who was born in Chesham, the daughter of William Chilton. They married in Westminster on 12 June 1852. She was a widow also.

Relatives


Historical Connections

The following local places of interest are linked to John Edward Lane (senior):