Before I carry on with the milking parlour, which was purpose built in 1937. I would like to touch on the extensive work that was carried out on the various permanent pastures of the farm. For instance, one of the rules to become a tuburculin attested farm, is that an insulation perimeter fence be built. 6 feet away from any boundary fence, where there is a risk of contamination from non-tested neighbouring cattle, such as those on Widbrook Common.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I am not sure if this device was factory made or something that was made by the village blacksmith Tom Emmett. The reason I say this is due to the fact in all my research on dairy farm equipment. I could not find any reference to such a tool. Mind, I hasten to point out that this was a very modern farm, and at all space between dairy buildings were either finished in concrete or tarmacadam surface, even the holding yard and entry into the milking parlour was finished off with concrete, all of which were washed down with a hose every day.
This of course made it very easy for the cowman to trundle the milk churns when full to the dairy for processing, and return with with clean empty ones to the cowshed.
My drawing uses a full-size ten-gallon churn and the sketch is from memory. It was similar to the farms sack truck or barrow, except that the weight was supported on a hook which fitted into the handle on the churn, and two bars kept the churn from rolling sideways. The original had cast-iron wheels, then if my memory serves me correctly, Ernie Holland, who was the farm engineer at the time, came up with two solid rubber wheels which he fitted. It certainly cured a lot of squeaks and rattles when it was trundled across the pavement to the dairy.
Saturday, November 21, 2009
This diagram is to show the plan layout of both buildings 19 and 20, building 21 was much larger with a similar layout. As for the stalls and milking machine. The blue line is the vacuum piping which was installed in about 6 feet and the crossover the doorway was about 8 feet.
This is an example of an early bucket unit in the 1920's. Note the four teat cups affixed to what was known as the claw, and the heart of the system or pulsator mounted on top of the lid of the bucket. After every milking, the units were taken apart and cleaned and reassembled in the dairy.
As the cattle spent quite a time in the cowshed. It was necessary that each cow should have their own drinking fountain or bowl. Figure "A" was the nose operated tap, that when depressed, water would flow into the bowl from the water pipe "B."
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
He went on to invent several things including a nozzle to increase a steam jet to supersonic speed, which today has been incorporated into the modern rocket engine.
He then turned his attention to a centrifugal oil and water separator, which proved to be highly successful. This is then led to the thought of separating cream from milk, a system that he patented in 1894. He was now faced with the problem of developing a machine to mechanically milk cow's and speed up production. He worked on several prototypes, none of which were successful. Others tried and offered their ideas to him, but they too failed the test. It was not until five years after his death in February 1913, that his research and development group came up with a model on which todays milking machines are based. The earlier versions of which were incorporated into the White Place Farm cowsheds before the arrival of the new milking parlour in 1937.
Saturday, November 14, 2009
I am am now going to describe the 1937 purpose built Milking Parlour by Gascoigne's of Reading, who were at that time leaders in the business. My coverage of this building will be in several stages, as it was quite complex.
One thing that was first and foremost with this model farm was the health of the cattle and their mobility and foot health. In the beginning, this unit was used to milk the herd three times a day. Each time after milking the cows had to exit via a back corridor and walk-through of foot bath like the one in the picture above.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
The steam chest above was just one of the uses of the boiler, as every piece of milking equipment used during milking either in the cowsheds and later the milking parlour was brought into the dairy to be washed in the large wash trough and then placed in the steam chest to be steamed for at least 15 minutes, usually it was more like a half hour. You could liken this piece of equipent to a very large hospital autoclave.
The wash trough was divided into two parts or sections. The hot part was kept hot by injecting live steam into the water and together with a caustic soap called "Lavaloid" to kill any microbes. The cold side was for rinsing before the article was put into the steam chest. The trough itself was about ten feet in length and four feet in width. The steam chest was about six by six by six feet. There was removable racks that could be adjusted to what ever was being loaded in at that time.
This steam system for dairies was not unique to White Place, as my uncle at Sheephouse Farm had a similar set up. Also he also used the live steam to cook pig swill via a flexible hose to an old iron bath tub, which he collected from restraunts and hotel kitchens. It was also collected from the army camp at Battlemead. That is when needs must during wartime.
Friday, November 6, 2009
Buildings numbered #9. indicated on the farm map,were originally built to house young heifer calves after being weaned. A sort of intermediate stage before being turned out to grass in the spring. If the pens got too full, the older ones were taken to the stockyard at Sutton Farm.
Some people would wonder why they were not turned out earlier? The reason is that the majority of White Place Farm is either a natural water meadow, and the remainder is subject to flooding during the winter months. Plus damp and cold are suitable for young livestock.
In the later years these buildings were converted to farrowing pens for the farm stock of breeding sows, as the farm gradually switched from milk to pork production. A skilled pig man was engaged to look after the breeding programme, weighing and shipping to market.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
My story now moves onto two very skilled craftsmen, whose work to a very young boy who was very fascinating. They were, Sid Burrfoot and Lawrence Smith, who were also known to one and all as "Lal." their work covered making or repairing anything that was wooden. Even, when it came to putting up the isolation fencing, for they TT herd regulations.
Luckily I have found some pen and ink drawings to demonstrate some of the mortise and tenon joints that they used in constructing whatever job they had in hand. In most of them work. The joints were so tight that they only needed a tusk or dowel pin to complete the joint. The use of nails were frowned upon by these two men, and if needed were used very sparingly. It is very sad to say that the skills of these fine craftsman are dying out with the advent of power tools.
Monday, October 26, 2009
In the early days of the farm operation, cattle were moved in a horse-drawn float, which at best could onlt take two animals at any one time. So in the 1930's, and both herds becoming Tuberculin Attested it was necessary for the farm to purchase a cattle lorry in similar size to the one in the photographabove, although if my memory serves me correctly it was a Bedford lorry chassis with natural wood finish bodywork.
Besides it being used for moving cattle, wooden benches could be fitted in the box, so that farm and estate staff could be moved as beaters during the game-shooting season from drive to drive.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
To us boys who lived on or near the farm at first, he seemed to be a fearsome character, mainly due to the fact that he had a bark that made him sound like a Regimental Sergeant Major. From that, as most schoolboys did in those days, he earned the nickname of "YAYA." To the staff that were under his control, they found him to be a hard task master, some of who, did not stay around long. On the other hand he was like an old mother hen where the cattle were concerned. His medicinal skill was second to none, very seldom was a vet ever called in to administer, except when the herds went over to to Tuberculin Tested in 1936-37.
He had a small office, which was built in to part of his house, as there was no farm office on the farm, the estate office at Cliveden carried out all the administration. In his office he kept the herd records and the genealogy of every animal that passed through his hands. Even his choice of bloodlines and the purchase of new herd bulls were left to him by the second Viscount Astor, who placed great faith in his judgement and breeding skills.
After his wife's death, he engaged a Mrs, Bates to be in his housekeeper. She had moved out of London with her two sons Michael and David because of the Blitz. I think he never got used to having two boys under his roof, and after the war with the change of farm management and the moving of the farm administration from Cliveden to the farm, he went into retirement.
Monday, October 19, 2009
The Dry Stock Pens in the diagram above are a mirror immage of the Implemnt Shed except there were ten pens instead of eight bays and they were there for use mainly during the Winter season, when no cattle were turned out as the majority of pastures were water meadows and subject to flooding. It was in these pens that the Dry Stockman put the in calf cows or heifers through what is known as "Steaming." No, that does not mean that they give them a steam bath every day! No it means that they are fed extra concentrates of food so that when they calve, they will yield the maximum ammount of milk.
In building five there were six loose boxes that were used for calving and when required for the treament of sick cattle, such as lameness due to a cloven hoof infection, most common where you have soft muddy ground and loose gravel mixed in. More about this treatment will come later.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
As time went on and architecture changed, the curved roof for the Dutch Barn became more popular due to the introduction of the iron I-Beam uprights and the all metal truss and rafters which came to the site in kit form. The cold roll forming press was used on the construction site so that a perfect curve could be made.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
I suppose I grew up during the time when the stable stones were used as a foundation for corn ricks for the last time. They had been used by the farming community for the past few centuries as a preventative measure to stop rats and other vermin from eating a grain of four was trashed. and then stored in a granary. Of course, there are wooden granaries that can still be found today in various parts of the country, mounted on staddle stones. You of course can find these stones used for decorative purposes lining driveways, and as ornaments in the gardens today.
The first diagram indicates the way the 12 staddle stones would have been laid out by the rick builder. The experience in this skill alone was enough for him to be hired by any farmer, of course, he would bring with him many other skills as well.
The red square denotes the use of an old half stable door or some other similar object that can be found lying around the farm.
The joining lines , seen in the diagram above are made up of a series of poles that have been used for that particular purpose over quite a number of years and were well seasoned for the job.
In this the last diagram above, you will see that it is all filled in. The material would have been made up from shorter planks and other suitable material stretched across the wooden beams. On top of which would be a lay of straw from the previous. To make a bed for the new sheaves of wheat. The builder would start his rick from the centre, and gradually work to the outside. He would keep repeating the process, thereby making sure that the straw in the sheaves was always sloping to the outside of the rick and to drain away any moisture at penetrated the rick itself.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
The photograph above has been modified to identify and show the buildings as they were in the 1930 and 40's. With the arrival of Edward Chaplin as farm manager in 1947-48, and with new ideas and equipment things began to change. Below is a list of numbers and descriptions of the buildings identified.
List of farm buildings identified.
1. Thatched corn ricks.
2. The Dutch barns.
3. Open implement and cart shed.
4. Holding pens for Cows about to calve.
5. Calving boxes.
6. Cattle lorry garage.
7. Carpenters shop.
8. Milk delivery lorry garage.
9. Pens for young heifer calves before being turned out to grass.
10. Dairy and bottling room.
11. Boilerhouse for sterilising equipment and bottles.
12. In the 1937 Gascoign milking parlour for three times a day milking.
13. Copper sulphate footbaths.
14. Collecting yard with circular drinking trough.
15. The calfhouse for newly born calves for weaning process.
16. Stock bullpens.
17. A unique design covered stockyard and listed building.
18. Weaned calves in the second stage and still on milk and supplements.
19. Shorthorn herd milking parlour and also winter quarters.
20. Shorthorn herd milking parlour and also winter quarters.
21. Ayrshire secondary milking parlour and winter quarters.
22. Open effluent pit for treatment of a cowshed sewage.
23. Covered effluent pit for second stage of sewage treatment.
24. Large clinkerbed for treatment of fluids, before going into farm drainage.
25. Dairyman's house and garden.
27. Hedge and Fenceman's house and garden.
28. Stables for shire horses.
29. Covered barn.
30. Cherry Orchard.
31. Arable Forman's house and garden.
32. Old Granary, a grade one listed building.
33. A carter's cottage and garden.
34. The home of the farm herdsmen with garden and grass tennis court.
35. The active granary.
36. The farm bothé for single staff.
37. The site of two 80 foot wooden silos.
38. Farm petrol pump.
39. Farm tractor shed and TVO tank.
40. Dairy equipment store for spares and chemicals.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
With the engagement of Captain Pepper as an estate manager to look after the day-to-day running of the estate, stud farm and White Place Farm, the Astors were free to be either in London for parliamentary sessions and social events, or to be in their constituency of Plymouth Sutton with their home on Plymouth Hoe.
With the event of the First World War, and so much of Cliveden House being empty, a part of it was given over to the Canadian Red Cross as a military hospital an association of which Nancy Astor maintained a very close contact throughout her lifetime. A small part of the house was kept for when they were just visiting. As you can imagine, they were leading a very busy lifestyle.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Her first marriage was to a wealthy Bostonian Robert Gould Shaw in October 1897, they had one child a boy, in 1902 they separated and were divorced the following year.
Shortly after her divorce she sailed to England, and it was on that voyage she met Waldorf William Astor, and in 1906 they were married.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Stepping back to 1906, when he met and married Nancy Witcher Langhorn. More about this famous lady in a later section of this saga.
In 1914, he gained the rank of temporary Major, and was Inspector of the Quartermaster General Services in the Home District, a position that he held until 1917 for which he was mentioned in dispatches. Between 1917 and 1918, he held the office of Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister. From 1918 to 1919 he held the office of Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Food. From 1919 to 1921 he was Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Health.
On his father's death in 1919 he automatically had to relinquish his Parliamentary seat to take his seat in the House of Lords. His Parliamentary seat becoming vacant, his wife Nancy decided she would run and won the seat in a by-election in 1919.
He held the office of Lord Mayor of Plymouth from 1939 until 1944, when he quietly retired from public life to enjoy his Racehorses and the Cliveden Stud farm, which had long been a great passion of his. He died at his Cliveden home on 30th September 1952 at the age of 73.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
William Waldorf Astor was born in New York City and the only child of John Jacob Astor in 1822. He was educated in Germany and Italy and finally studied law at Columbia Law School. He worked for a short time in a law firm before becoming his fathers business manager. In 1878 he was married to Mary Dahlgren Paul and went into politics and served as a New York State Assemblyman and a Senator. He was twice defeated in a bid for the United States Congress and President Chester A. Arthur appointed him minister to Italy, a post he held for three years.
Upon the death of his father in 1890 he inherited a personal fortune that made him the richest man in America. On the 7th of November plans were filed with the New York City Building Department for a new hotel to be built on the site of the old family home, after a family feud with an Aunt. He moved his family to England. In 1897 his cousin John Jacob Astor IV built the Astoria Hotel next door and eventually the two were joined together to become The Waldorf Astoria that we know today.
After leaving America for England with his family, he only returned to America once and gave up his American citizenship to apply for and obtain a British one. The Astor's first home was rented Landsdown House in London until 1893 when he purchased the Cliveden Estate from the 1st Duke of Westminister. In 1899 Astor became a British Citizen and in 1903 bought Hever Castle in Kent. The huge estate was built in 1270 and it is supposed to be haunted by the ghost of Anne Boleyn, who lived there as a child.
In 1906 he gave Cliveden to his son Waldorf William Astor as a wedding present when he married Nancy Langhorne. In 1916 King George V created him Baron Astor of Hever and a year later he was elevated to that of a Viscount. This was for his philanthropic works for the nation during the first world war.
He died in Brighton, Sussex in 1919 and his ashes are buried beneath the marble floor of the family chapel floor at Cliveden.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Today's traffic surveys are in the main made with the use of electromechanical devices. In the 1930's and early 40's none of this equipment was available, so the job was conducted by manual labour. The picture of the shed above is typical of the type of building that would house the enumerator's, I say enumerator's, as the task required two people to conduct a survey.
One person would survey and record on a ledger sheet, specially laid out on all traffic travelling from left to right. The second person would record all traffic travelling from right to left. This would include identifying the type of vehicle or person that passed, from heavy goods vehicles and buses to light vans and passenger cars, people on bicycles, and even people walking. On the odd occasion, they would have to record a herd of cattle or sheep being driven past them, which was the normal thing on rural roads in those days.
The survey was conducted approximately once every two years, one of the sites being the small layby at Widbrook Common just by the gate leading to my home. As a rule this survey was carried out alternate years to the resurfacing being performed, and quite often during the summer school holiday period.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The caravan above is typical of all crew caravans that were used by the road maintenance steamroller driver and his tar boiler mate. As they were up very early in the morning to stoke the fires in both the steamroller and tar boiler.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
You must remember that in the early days there was little or no heavy equipment to help build the roads, it was all manual labour, the pickaxe being the most handy piece of equipment. For larger excavations of course there was the steam driven shovel or excavator, nothing like a tractor backhoe that you see today.
The men in the photograph above you can quite easily spot their ranking on the job. The workmen all wore cloth caps, while all the foreman or foremen wore the badge of a bowler hat. The gentleman in a homburg was most likely a manager from either the local council or from the contractor.
Of course, today, that form of recognition has long since gone, the workmen either ware, yellow or blue hard hats, and the foreman and supervisors wear white safety hats.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
We now come to the original gates and fence posts, used in the fencing of Widbrook Common. Except for the number eight gauge steel wire, and the small Pawl and Ratchet wire tightener's used in the building of the fences, everything was produced locally in Harding's builders yard. You will notice that smooth steel wire was used and not barbed wire. Barbed wire was not introduced until it was decided to use railway ties as fence posts.
The two kissing gates of which there is a photo example was to allow free pedestrian access to the footpath and to Widbrook Cottage. Quite a few summer visitors often thought that the kissing gate to the cottage was the footpath access to the river, which it was not, as there were no footpath right of way across White Place Farm. Quite often, we had to redirect walkers to the Islet Road in Maidenhead Court, as the closest route to the Thames.
Monday, August 31, 2009
#1. Is the position of a kissing gate with a footpath that leads across the Common to the south west corner and onto Maidenhead.
#2. Is the site of a five bar gate and holding pen, which was used for the reception of cattle and horses for marking purposes on 14 th of May or " Widbrook Fair Day."
#3. & #4. Both of these are five bar gates, to give access to cattle, and the Hayward's pony and trap.
#5. It was a combination of a five bar gate and kissing gate, both to give access to Widbrook Cottage, for both vehicle and pedestrian traffic.
#6. This small layby was used by the road serfacing workmen to park their travelling van, tarpot and steamroller.
#7. This whole area was used for stockpiling road gravel and sand, for use in the resurfacing of the road.
#8. & 9. This water meadow pasture area was rented out to Sheephouse Farm in Maidenhead Court for night grazing of their dairy herd during the Common rental season of May to October.
#10. This marks the site of a Winter Pond, which when frozen solid, was used by many local residents for skating at the weekends.