Suttons Seeds Ltd.
Suttons Seeds Ltd was founded in Reading as Suttons & Son by John Sutton (1777-1863) in 1806. It started off as a corn factor and miller with a small trade in farm seeds. The business expanded under John Sutton’s second son Martin Hope Sutton (1815-1901). The first office was at 16 King Street, Reading but the firm moved to the Market Place in 1839. Taking advantage of the burgeoning rail network and postal system the firm established a system of sale and delivery from Reading. Suttons supplied seeds to places all round the world such as New Zealand, Australia, USA, South Africa and Japan. A branch house was set up in Calcutta, India to deal with the large market there and to produce seeds which could be sold back in the UK.
Well illustrated catalogues were produced showing Suttons wide range of products. There were several trial grounds including Gulval in Cornwall, Southcote Manor, London Road, Portland Place (up until the First World War) and Slough (until the early 1960’s). These were for testing new varieties of flowers and vegetables. Suttons became a limited company in 1930. The Market Place site was vacated in the early 1960’s and the company moved to Torquay in 1976. At present it is part of a large multi-national conglomerate.
Records cover the period 1714-1976 and include accounts (TR SUT/AC), administrative and commercial records (TR SUT/AD), legal records of companies and businesses (TR SUT/CO), technical records (TR SUT/ET), publications and advertising (TR SUT/P), international photographic records (TR SUT/PH), records of shows and exhibitions (TR SUT/SH) and social and personal records (TR SUT/SP).
The Museum also holds over 100 objects used and made by Suttons, including sacks, signs and seeds.
- Full descriptions are available on our online database: TR SUT, TR 2SUT, and TR 3SUT
- Handlists for each deposit of the collection can be found here: TR SUT, TR 2SUT, and TR 3SUT
- See also the Sutton Seeds Catalogue Collection reference P DX291
- The objects are catalogued on the online database. Search using the phrase ‘Suttons Seeds’