History of the Firm

A.Luff & Sons Ltd and Thomsons Ltd

TO OUR PATRONS (published 1930)

To be able to look back on thirty years (near 120 years now) of continuous and successful effort is a source of justifiable satisfaction in the life of any man of business, and this can be claimed by Mr. A. Luff, the founder and Chairman of A. Luff & Sons and Thomsons, Ltd.

Ripley Nurseries est 1895 - History Ripley Nurseries

The beginning

Let's take a look at the history of the A.Luff & Sons Ltd firm. Ripley Nurseries has become a famous garden centre in the Woking area. Discover the history of this family-run business. We continue sharing the passion of our great grandfather who's established this company. 

The business, which has now passed the thirtieth year of its existence under the title of A. Luff & Sons, was founded by Mr. A. Luff in 1897 and, beginning in a very small way, has made during the past thirty years steady and continual progress until it has attained its present position as one of the leading firms in the Landscape gardening and Nursery trade.

Ripley Nurseries - 1897

The story continues...

In 1897, Mr. A. Luff started the business at New Malden, Surrey. In 1899, the Wimbledon Park Nurseries were acquired, and these premises, with many additions for Offices and Stores, with complete haulage depot, is where the Head Office of the firm is now situated.

History Ripley Nurseries

Ever-expanding trade

Early in 1914, to meet the ever-expanding trade, the firm acquired Coombe Wood Nurseries, Kingston Hill, on the retirement from Messrs. J. Veitch & Sons Ltd, Chelsea.

Ripley Nurseries History

Meet further business requirements

In 1922, to further meet the business requirements, forty-five acres of land with a quarter of a mile frontage to the main Portsmouth Road was purchased at Send, near Guildford, Surrey. This nursery is planned on the most up-to-date principle and stocked with all kinds of trees, roses, shrubs, and plants to furnish today's garden.

March 1927 - Ripley Nurseries History

Messrs. D.S. Thomson & Sons of Wimbledon

In March 1927, the old-established Messrs. D.S. Thomson & Sons of Wimbledon was acquired.

July 1927 - Ripley Nurseries History

Private Limited Company under A. Luff & Sons and Thomsons Ltd.

In July 1927, the business was formed into a Private Limited Company under A. Luff & Sons and Thomsons Ltd., with Mr A. Luff as Chairman, and Messrs. Norman and Roland Luff as joint Managing Directors.

Wimbledon Hard Courts under-constructionLuff's New Malden ExhibitLuff's Wimbledon Exhibit near Exit ChelseaChelsea Circa 1930's DisplayIdeal Home Exhibition 1930'sLuff's Ideal Home 1940'sLuff's New Malden Exhibit Ideal HomeExhibit Luff's Wimbledon Park Nursery 1930'sExhibit Luff's Wimbledon Park Nursery 1930'sLuff's Coombe Wood nursery Exhibit 1920'sChelsea Circa 1920 Rhododendron Gold MedalChelsea Circa 1920 Rhododendron DisplayCoombe Wood Nursery Kingston HillRockery Coombe Wood Nursery Roland LuffView To Car Park Coombe Wood (Veitch Nursery)Coombe Wood Nursery Kingston HillMatchbox 1920 Leyland 3 ton Subsidy LorryMatchbox 1920 Leyland 3 ton Subsidy LorrySir Winston Churchill Chartwell 1924


The above was taken from a recently discovered document together with the photographs in the slideshow.



David N Dadswell (Great Grandson 1951)

1901 CENSUS: RG13/666. folio 70 pages 6.

  • Abode: Hethersett Nursery, Coombe-road, New Malden.
  • Arthur LUFF. Head. M. 46. Horticultural Business. Pirbright, Surrey.
  • Emily LUFF. Wife. M. 49. Horticultural Business. Lynn, Norfolk.
  • Lizzie E.LUFF. Dau. S. 19. Horticultural Business. Balham, Surrey.
  • Norman LUFF. Son. S. 16. Horticultural Business. Balham, Surrey.
  • Roland LUFF. Son. 14. Horticultural Business. Streatham, Surrey.
  • Hilda LUFF. Dau. 11. Wimbledon, Surrey.
  • Dorothy LUFF. Dau. 5. Wimbledon, Surrey.

ISLE OF WIGHT COUNTY PRESS Saturday, Dec 13th 1930, page 7.


The death took place suddenly on Wednesday while attending a shooting party at Hill Farm, Brading, of Mr Arthur LUFF, of 11 Vernon-square, founder of Messrs. A.LUFF and Sons' well-known business THOMPSON’s, Ltd., nurserymen and landscape gardeners. Mr LUFF left home to attend a shoot as the guest of Mr Hollis B.FOWLER apparently in his normal state of health. The beaters had just lined up and crossed the first field when Mr LUFF, carrying his gun, suddenly collapsed and fell forward. He was taken to the farm, where Mr and Mrs MANUEL gave every possible assistance while Mr FOWLER motored to Ryde for medical aid.  He returned with Dr W.H.GERVIS, of East Cowes, who was at the County Hospital, and it was found that Mr LUFF had quietly passed away. The late Mr LUFF, who was 77, was an extremely active man for his years. During the ten years he has resided here in retirement, he enjoyed a game of bowls and was an enthusiastic angler and keen on shooting. He was a good sportsman and held in esteem and regard by all his friends. It was in 1897 that he founded the business which was to become such a successful venture. He began his work at New Malden, Surrey, and two years later acquired the Wimbledon Park Nurseries, to which many additions were made. Early in 1914, the remainder of the lease of Coombe Wood Nurseries, Kingston Hill, was acquired, and later, in 1922, 45 acres of land on the Portsmouth road at Send, Guildford, were secured. In March 1927, the old established business of Messrs. D.S.THOMPSON and Sons of Wimbledon were acquired, and four months later, the business was formed into a private limited liability company, under its present title, with Mr A.LUFF, as chairman. The deceased, whose wife predeceased him three years ago, leaves two sons and three married daughters. The funeral will take place at the Cemetery on Monday.


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