James Wood & Son
292-294 High St, Berkhamsted
James Wood came to Berkhamsted and established an ironworks business on the High Street in 1826. He lived next door in Monks Cottage. The business was advertised as “iron fence makers, wire workers & hot water engineers”. After the death of James Wood in 1861, the business was managed by his widow, Fanny.
Woods ironworks is of particular significance to Rectory Lane Cemetery as this is where the wrought iron gates at the cemetery entrance were made. James and Fanny Wood were both buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery, as was their son, also James Wood (1824 –1918).
James Wood & Son continued to trade from these premises for many years as a domestic heating engineers, plumbers and ironmongers. The business later became a plant nursery and garden stores. It has since been taken over by Capital Gardens Ltd but still trades under the name of Woods Garden Centre.
The gardening connection with this site also has a long history; the adjacent land was once the site of Lane’s Nurseries, a large plant nursery with large greenhouses extending beyond St John’s Well Lane and over to the River Bulbourne. It was founded by Henry Lane Sr. in 1777 and became highly successful, supplying garden plants all over Britain. The family business was managed by a succession of Lanes – Henry’s son, also called Henry, took over, succeed in turn by his son, John Edward Lane Sr. and subsequently by John Edward Lane Jr. In 1841, the Lanes promoted a new cultivar of apple (grown by Thomas Squire), the Lane’s Prince Albert, named in honour of the visit of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert that year. In the 1850s, Lane’s Nurseries also exhibited at the Crystal Palace Exhibition Halls in London and became associated with its architect, Sir Joseph Paxton. John Edward Lane Sr. also expanded his business interests into beer brewing, and named one of his Berkhamsted pubs after Paxton’s marvel, The Crystal Palace.
Three generations of Lanes are buried in Rectory Lane Cemetery, memorials to a family who once dominated Berkhamsted’s horticultural and economic landscape.
Discover the memorials in Rectory Lane Cemetery with historical links to James Wood & Son
6 burials are found — click on a burial below to find out more: