Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Traditional Midlands Knocker.

A Traditional Midlands Knocker.
This particular job dates back to the early time of the Industrial revolution in the Midlands, long before the use of alarm clocks were cheap and affordable by the average factory worker. The saying by some folks today still ask a guest, "What time would you like to be knocked up?" Like much of the English meanings today, there are different meanings to the saying today, though I do believe there are a group of Morris Dancers that use the word Knocker's in their name.
Sad to say that today the name portrays an unlawful profession!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

As the wheel turns.

As the wheel turns.
It made me smile when I read that The Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead want you to re-invent the wheel, I refer to the bicycle wheel. There was a time in Cookham when nearly everyone rode a bicycle. Husbands to work, wives to do their shopping, and the children rode a bicycle to school. Even the school teachers rode bicycles.
At an early age one knew how to repair a puncture in a tyre, it was common practice to carry a repair kit in a leather pouch attached to your saddle. For major repairs like aligning the rim of the wheel, one would go to Mr. Greenslade who had a little shop in The Pound.
As a backup you could always go to Owen Hildreth in Market Street, Maidenhead. He was the local bicycle dealer and repair shop. Here one could find a bicycle to fit ones pocket or purse. I doubt if the bicycle will come back to the wide use that the village once knew due to the density of today’s traffic. Plus the introduction of safe cycle-ways is nigh impossible due to the density of housing and narrow village roads.

Friday, June 7, 2013

The Victorian Apple Store.

The Victorian Apple Store.
In the last blog I mentioned the Coppin Pruner. This lead me to remembering what I would describe as the last of the old Victorian Apple store sheds in Cookham, which was created by Lord and Lady Astor when they bought White Place Farm in the early 1900's and built the walled-in garden opposite Sutton Farm. The reason that this garden was built was to serve the kitchens of Cliveden House as the soil was more suitable for growing vegetables than at it was up on the hill. Also it was ideal for starting a large apple orchard. With that came the building of the apple storage shed as you can see from the old etched drawing above.

In the next picture you can see a re-vamped Google map of what the garden and orchard looked like, also there was an “L” shaped wall, which sheltered soft fruit such as peaches and nectarines from the cold north and east winds. In its hey-day it employed a gardener and four under gardeners

The next drawing is a colour sketch that I made up so you can see how the apples were stored on sliding trays, the bottom of which was fine wire netting covered with a layer of chopped oat straw. The apples were placed on the straw bed, making sure that they did not touch. This way the good eating apples such as Blenheim Orange and Coxes Orange Pippin would keep through until Christmas or mid-January. The favourite cooking apple the Bramley Seedling was a good keeper and would last to the end of February into early March. It also became a good eating apple in January, as aging seemed to sweeten it.