Mr May’s Big Green Day

In 1878 Mr Thomas May moved from Pen Hill Farm, Fremington, Devon to Valence House in Dagenham. He brought with him his young wife Helen, six children, a mother in law and several families of servants. In Dagenham he began the business of market gardening and produced fruit, vegetables and flowers of all kinds for the London markets. Thomas’s claim to fame was to have introduced the first commercial tomato growing to Dagenham.

This year Valence House Museum was to have commemorated Dagenham’s market gardening past by running Mr May’s Big Green Day as part of our Land of the Fanns project. The Covid19 pandemic has meant that we have been forced to cancel our Green Day at Valence.

We have however decided to run it with your help. Instead of holding it at Valence we hope to run it in your back gardens, on your patios and on your windowsills.

We are giving away vegetable and flower seeds to anyone who wishes to take part in our Green Festival. You grow the plants and tell us how they are growing. We will provide expert guidance and in the summer we will invite you to take part in a competition. Show us how you can grow the biggest, tallest, greenest, fattest, juiciest most attractive flower or vegetable. You do not have to be a skilled gardener and prizes will be available for those that do the best.

If you are interested in taking part please send us an email to new email marked Mr May’s Big Green Day and give us your home address. We have selections of seeds suitable for the garden and others more suitable for tubs and pots. Let us know which package you would like.

Garden package: tomato; purple carrots, sunflowers, runner beans

Tubs and pot package: tomato, cress, salads, sugar peas.


Looking to get crafty with your seeds? Check out our instructions on how to create a Cressida Fanshawe planter with your cress seeds.