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Mr Thomas Rivers (The Second)

Thomas Rivers the Second, known for his pioneering work in horticulture and fruit breeding, was born on July 25, 1798, in Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, England. He hailed from a family deeply involved in fruit growing, inheriting a passion for horticulture from his father, Thomas Rivers the First, who established a nursery in Sawbridgeworth in 1725.

Rivers took the reins of the family nursery in 1830 and began experimenting extensively with fruit varieties. He played a crucial role in advancing fruit cultivation through his innovative techniques in breeding and selection. His meticulous records and keen observations of different fruit species allowed him to develop superior varieties, particularly of apples, pears, plums, and cherries.

His particular interest was roses, and he was responsible for introducing the standard rose into England. He published The Catalogue of Roses in 1833 and The Rose Amateurs' Guide in 1837.

Among his significant contributions was the development of the Rivers Early Prolific cherry, a variety known for its early ripening and high-quality fruit. His work also extended to apples, where he introduced the Sturmer Pippin, a dessert apple highly regarded for its flavor and keeping qualities.

Rivers was not only an adept breeder but also a proficient writer, contributing valuable insights to horticultural publications. His book "The Miniature Fruit Garden" remains a revered resource in the field, offering guidance on fruit cultivation in limited spaces.

His dedication to the field earned him recognition, and he became a Fellow of the Royal Horticultural Society. His nursery in Sawbridgeworth became renowned, attracting visitors and aspiring horticulturists eager to learn from his expertise.

Thomas Rivers the Second continued his impactful work until his passing on March 17, 1877, leaving behind a legacy that greatly influenced the horticultural world. His contributions to fruit breeding and cultivation methods laid a foundation for modern practices and enriched orchards worldwide.


  1. The Royal Horticultural Society:
  2. Hessayon, D.G. (1994). The New Fruit Expert. Expert Books.
  3. Phillips, R. & Rix, M. (2002). The Quest for the Rose. Timber Press.
  4. London Gardens Trust:

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