Anthony Lang was a sheep farmer. He exported sheep to the Continent for many years. Particularly his favourite breed, the Dorset Down. Anthony Lang was actively involved with the Bath and West Agricultural Show since the 1960s. He was a steward who organised and judged the sheep competition. He was also involved with the Royal Smithfield Show as a member of council, including being Chairman.
Eric Jones was born in 1908 and farmed in North Petherton near Bridgwater. He sold cattle, sheep, poultry and eggs at Bridgwater market, as well as cultivating and harvesting peas on the rich farmland around North Petherton. Eric remembered the ploughing competitions held in May by local farmers in the 1930s. The landowner would supply beer or cider to acknowledge his gratitude for the free ploughing carried out by the competitors.
Dorothy and Stanley James were both born and educated in Castle Cary. Stanley’s father wanted him to become a farmer but Stanley hated animals and he became a builder instead. Dorothy talks about the textile factories in Castle Cary, Boyd’s, and T S Donne and Son. Dorothy worked in Boyd’s factory where horsehair was processed and used in upholstery and padding. They both served in the army during the Second World War and were married after it ended. Dorothy and Stanley James lived in Castle Cary all their lives.
Daisy Hooper was the widow of Harry Hooper, who was a baker in Butleigh, a village near Glastonbury, c.1912-1950s. He started working at the bakery before the First World War, and continued there after serving with the army in France, where he was wounded. Her husband baked bread every day except Christmas Day and the couple rarely had a holiday or day off.
The story of how Bournemouth man, Arthur West perished on the Titanic after helping his wife Ada and daughters Constance and Barbara to safety can be told for the first time.
Read the full story in the Daily Echo.
In this podcast from the National Archives, Cultural historian Matt Cook delves into the diary of George Ives, the early homosexual law reformer, and considers the issue of family, a pertinent and recurrent theme within Ives’ diary.
In 1897 Arthur Lee Humphreys published The Somerset Roll–an Experimental List of Worthies, Unworthies and Villains Born in the County. Arthur describes the contents of the book in the published preface:
John Hancock talked about his work at English Hurdles, Curload, Stoke St Gregory, a company producing willow products. These were mainly hurdles but also rose arches, bowers and chairs. John originally works on harvesting willow in the 1990s, and describes machinery now used in cutting and hauling the willow from the beds.
Paul Green is a partner in the Green cheese-making business based in West Pennard. He runs two dairy farms with 150 cows on each, and his cousins run other farms in the area. All the milk is used in cheese-making.
He talks about the processes involved in cheese-making, contrasting today’s modern methods with those started by his grandmother in 1908. By 2003 Green cheese-making had become a worldwide business dealing with supermarkets in England and America. He talks about labour costs, profitability and expansion of the business in a very competitive environment.
Christine Govier was born in 1914 in Butleigh near Glastonbury, her father worked as a carter for Robert Neville Grenville, Squire of Butleigh Court Estate. Robert Neville Grenville set up experimentation into cider making at Butleigh Court during the 1890s, and supported the opening of the National Fruit and Cider Institute, Long Ashton, in 1903 to undertake systematic research into cider production. He was also a pioneering motorist.