I celebrated my 80th birthday at Christmas, and have been thinking of the changes in my home village of Arkholme in that time.
Before the war the majority of the working men lived within walking distance of their employment. There were at least sixteen working farms within two miles of the crossroads, most of them employing one or two farm workers who lived with the farmer’s family. They milked between ten and thirty cows by hand, morning and night, with the milk to be ready for collection on the milk-stand by 8am each morning. Each farm also had a flock of sheep, fifty or sixty hens, two pigs that were killed for eating in the home, a flock of geese with all but three of them killed at Christmas – the three left to produce the next years flock – and two or three heavy horses for the heavy farm work: ploughing, pulling the mowing machine, hay-making and all the other daily jobs around the farm.
Kit Bibby was the blacksmith. The Metcalfe’s were landlords at the Bay Horse. The Swindells family had the garage, Albert Ireland the post office, and next door Tom Williamson had a cobblers shop. He lived at Ferrocrete with his brother Jack, who was the local joiner, and his two sisters Alice and Agnes. The Irelands lived at Willow Cottage Charlie, the last basket maker, was an absolute artist, and made all sorts of lovely designs from willow. Bob Robinson was a stone-mason, and lived at Poole House. He had a concrete block making press that produced stone faced blocks. Ferrocrete the house that was demolished when the Herb Garden was built) was erected using these blocks. The Holmes family used to live at Rose Cottage. They had been the village joiners and had a small steam engine in the garden behind the house to drive the woodworking machinery. They supplied a lot of the woodwork when the Church was restored. More next month!
There are two dances at Whittington this month: the annual charity dance on the fifth, and Lupton Church dance on the twelfth, when Bill Johnston will provide the music.