Thomas Rivers (1798–1877) was an English nurseryman, known for developing new varieties of roses and fruits.
The son of Thomas and Jane Rivers of Sawbridgeworth, Hertfordshire, he was born there on 27 December 1798. His ancestor John Rivers from Berkshire, established the Rivers family nurseries at Sawbridgeworth in 1725. On the retirement of his father in 1827, Rivers concentrated on the cultivation of roses.
Sawbridgeworth is a small town and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England, close to the border with Essex. It is 12 miles (19 km) east of Hertford and 9 miles (14 km) north of Epping.
Hertfordshire is one of the home counties in southern England. It is bordered by Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For government statistical purposes, it is placed in the East of England region.
Berkshire is a county in South East England. One of the home counties, Berkshire was recognised by the Queen as the Royal County of Berkshire in 1957 because of the presence of Windsor Castle, and letters patent were issued in 1974. Berkshire is a county of historic origin, a ceremonial county and a non-metropolitan county without a county council. The county town is Reading.
As a practical nurseryman, by the introduction of the "Early Rivers" plum, Rivers both extended the fruit season and enabled British fruit-growers to compete with European rivals. He also developed small fruit trees, and in 1854 took part in founding the British Pomological Society.
Pomology is a branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruit. The denomination fruticulture—introduced from Romance languages —is also used.
Rivers died at Bonks Hill, Sawbridgeworth, on 17 October 1877, and was buried at Sawbridgeworth.
He also contributed to gardening journals, beginning with a paper on apple cultivation in Loudon's Gardener's Magazine in 1827.
By his marriage in 1827 to Mary Ann, Rivers left two sons and four daughters. His son Thomas Francis Rivers took over the family business and edited his father's works.It was Thomas Francis Rivers who introduced the Conference pear. His granddaughter, Thomas Francis' daughter, May Rivers was a notable botanical illustrator.
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