Friday, October 30, 2009

The Carpenters Shop. #7. on the map.

The Carpenter's Brace.

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.

As a little boy, I used to watch these two men at work. Using only hand tools to perform the task in hand, whether it was a tailgate for a wagon or making a gate for a new section of the field, their skills were never wanting.
From the hand tools, such as the large saw or small tenon saw, down to box planes and brace and bit drills. Most of these tools had been with them since their apprenticeship into the trade. Each man had his own toolkit. In those days there was no power machinery in the Carpenter's Shop, everything was done by hand.

Sadly, I have no photographs of these two men working away in their shop, wearing the traditional white bib and brace apron to protect their clothes.

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

The Farm Cattle Lorry Garage, #6. on the map.

The Cattle Lorry.

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

The White Place Farm Herdsman.

The White Place Herdsman.
The photograph above is what I will call a photo fit from memory of George Ernest Hughes. Herdsman at White Place Farm for about twenty years.
My Story.

It was Michaelmas 1928, when George Ernest Hughes arrived from Mere in Wiltshire, to take up the position of herdsman of both the White Place Herd of Ayrshire and the Cliveden Herd of Shorthorn cattle. He arrived with his family of wife and two daughters, Helen Louise, aged ten and Betty Ernestine aged eight, both were entered into Holy Trinity School on the 15th of October of that year. I believe his wife was also named Betty, but to us boys, she was also known as Mrs. Hughes. She was a very tiny lady of about five for two or three inches and a very quiet nature. When I knew the family both girls were finishing up their education at Maidenhead County Girls, before going off to university in Cambridge. The last time I saw them was in 1940, when their mother died, and they were at her funeral.

Now to the man himself, the stories I heard from my parents who were very friendly with most of the farm staff that he had been wounded in the war and invalided out of the Army. The limp he had was with him for the rest of his life, also a shock of white hair that stood straight up was due to his wartime experience.

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

White Place Farm - Buildings 3-4 & 5.

Buildings 3 - 4 & 5.
Implement, Dry Stock
& Calving Boxes.
The top diagram shows two of what was an eight bay implement shed, which was used for the storage of seasonal equipment such as: Ploughs, Cultivators, Harrows of various types, Haymaking and Harvest equipment. The Threshing Machine and Hay Elevator was stored off to one side in a building that does not show on the map. The building was open on three sides and the roof was made of CGI. The supports were old telephone poles cut in half, with wood joists and rafters.

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

Dutch Barn Roofing History.

Corrugated Galvanized
Iron History.
The photograph above is to illustrate the modern day use still of CGI roofing, in this case, the photo was taken in Australia, where this type of roofing is still very popular.
Corrugated galvanised iron, or CGI for short was invented by Henry Palmer, architect and engineer to the London Dock Company. Originally made from wrought iron, it proved to be both light and strong, corrosion resistant, and easily transported in flat sheets. It lent itself to prefabricated structures and could be assembled using semiskilled labour. As you can see it soon became a very affordable covering for hay, grain crops and other farm buildings.

In the early days, as shown in the diagram above, how the corrugated iron was nailed to the wooden rafters of a conventional roof structure. Note the way it was nailed at the top of the curve, so that the water would not seep through the nail holes. Eventually, when metal rafters were used nailing was changed to the use of quarter inch bolts with fitted washers.

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.

This old ruin of a Dutch Barn in the photograph above is to give you an idea of how the skeleton framework went together during construction, also you can see how the ends used the corrugated material as well. Also with this type of barn guttering was added with downspouts at either end.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The White Place Farm Dutch Barns.

A Typical Dutch Barn.
The Dutch barn in the picture above is typical of the Dutch barns of which there were two at White Place Farm, which have long since been dismantled from the farmyard. I will be going into the construction and history of Dutch barns in the next blog, but for now I will stick to the construction of the two which stood in the farmyard for the best part of 60 to 70 years.
Various types Dutch barns have been in existence on farms in England since the early 1800's. when corrugated galvanised iron was invented as a cheap form of roofing material. In some parts of the country the Dutch barn is also known as the French barn, mainly because of the ease of construction. In the early years, wooden telegraph poles were used as barn uprights with traditional truss and rafter construction being used to the roof. The sides of the barn were left open so that hay or straw was able to breathe and maintain good condition. Towards the end of the 1800's, steel I-beam uprights and girders became more practical to use, together with the introduction of the curved roof line that we know.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Wooden Granary on Staddle Stones

A Wooden Granary.
White Place Farm itself did not have a wooden Granary, but it has a stone Granary, which is also a listed building on the farm today. Sutton Farm which was part of the White Place Farm, did have a building such as the one in the picture above and set on Staddle Stones. This building is sadly as with the 60 foot high dovecoté, which was also a listed building, has disappeared. I will be returning to discuss Sutton Farm, as it was in the 1930s with a map drawing for your reference. A very different scene today, compared with that era, when all the Astor farms were pristine model units.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The building of Corn Ricks

Staddle Stones and
Corn Ricks.
Since my last posting, you will have had quite a good chance to look over the map White Place Farm. It is my intention to go into the various buildings and items so marked by numbers in a logical sequence.

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 following diagrams are to demonstrate the way these stones were used in supporting and the building of a corn rick.

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.
I will go into topping out and thatching at a later point in this blog, again skill that the rick builder would have gained through experience in his working life on various farms. Atesting to this would be the many certificates and trophies that he held from competition and various Agricultural Shows.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

White Place Farm 1930 -- 48.

White Place Farm 1930-1948.

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.
26. Pumphouse.
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.