Now, the holder of the UK's National Collection of Citrus, Read's Nursery in Norfolk, will tell you they took over all the plants from Rivers Nursery when it closed down. However, some citrus plants were left growing inside unheated glasshouses during the next Winter. With the permission of the owner I dug up a few of these plants and took them home. Just two varieties, Shaddock (Citrus Maxima) and Imperial Lemon, plus Rough Lemon rootstock survived. I still have these, plus the rather sad photos of the dying citrus trees.
updated 12 Jan 2004
THOMAS RIVERS & SON LTD
Bishop's Stortford 722338
During the past two and a half centuries members of the Rivers family have corresponded widely with other nurserymen all over the world. One of the results of this exchange of ideas and experience was the building up of a collection of citrus fruit at Sawbridgeworth. In America oranges were flourishing in Florida, but varieties from that area proved unsuitable for the different growing conditions in California. In 1876 the third Thomas Rivers sent a number of young plants to California for trials, and one of these, Valencia Late, proved satisfactory and was used to start the citrus industry there. Some ten varieties of citrus are still grown at Sawbridgeworth, the range having been drastically reduced due to war-time heating regulations.
My very first Citrus plant was a Calamondin bought as a birthday present in Marks & Spencer, Oxford Street, London. That was way back around 1980. My wife sometimes regrets buying that present!
Then I discovered that the famous 'Thomas Rivers Nursery' was not too far away and still propagated Citrus. Although, this nursery closed a few years later I still have their citrus leaflet which is shown below.