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.