Yesterday a BBC TV programme, Countryfile, had a section about the former watercress beds at Lemsford, which are now an important nature reserve, where you can see the green sandpiper. I was interested in the history of the beds, as mentions of watercress growing have often turned up ion this site.
I soon found a useful online history - but I suspected the beds were older than the explicit references to the 1860s and later. A search of the British Newspaper Archives found two references - one from 1847 and 1854 - which made it clear that George Tims had growing a significant amount of watercress in this part of the Lea valley well before these dates. See Farming Watercress at Lemsford.