Christine Smith was a Land Army girl between 1942 and 1945. She worked on a 1000-acre farm in Pilton near Glastonbury that was run by the War Agricultural Committee. Twelve Land Army girls worked there, together with conscientious objectors, Italian prisoners-of-war, and older farm workers. Christine was involved with the cultivating, harvesting, and carting of hay; as well as wheat, mangolds and apples. Christine also drove tractors on the farm and helped to control pests.
Cuthbert Rose of Cocklake, Wedmore produced traditional cider for most of the last century. In this recording Cuthbert Rose describes the mill he used to grind up the apples before they were pressed. The Day Iron Foundry in nearby Mark made the mill. The foundry produced a variety of agricultural implements, some of which are on display at the Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury. Mr Rose used wooden shovels to shovel out the apple pomace from the mill into the cider press. Wooden shovels were used because metal shovels would taint and even poison the cider. It took two men to turn the wheels of the mill.
Stephen Morland was a member of the family that ran the Glastonbury sheepskin manufacturers and shoemakers Clarks, Son and Morland. The company closed in 1982. During the First World War the company produced thick heavy gloves for airmen. The leather gloves were cut at the factory, collected by local women who would sew them, and return them to the factory. The women were paid for each glove sewn.
Phyllis Jones was born in 1918 and raised on a farm in Burrowbridge, a village on the Somerset levels situated between Glastonbury and Taunton. Burrowbridge is situated on the banks of the River Parrett and Phyllis remembers eating salmon caught from the river, as well as elvers [young eels], which were cooked in a pan with eggs. In this clip Phyllis discusses food, and the significance of funerals in village life.
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.
Josie’s family, the Hippisleys of Glastonbury, lived at Wick, where her father was a farm worker. When Josie left school, she wanted to attend Cannington College to learn cheese making, but had to go into domestic service in Glastonbury to help support her family. Josie started making rag rugs from old clothes during the war years. Her husband made a frame on which she made the rugs. Josie donated a collection of rag rugs to the SRLM, Glastonbury.
Edith Hiscox was born in 1903 in Somerset. She won a scholarship to a dairy college in Lancashire, where she learnt to make Cheddar and Caerphilly cheeses. Edith returned to Somerset and made cheese and butter on two farms in Pilton, a village near Glastonbury. She worked at Worthy Farm, Pilton, for a Mr Eavis. Worthy Farm is now the venue for Glastonbury Festival.
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.
Elsie Frampton (b. 1898) and her son Alan farmed in Ashcott near Glastonbury. The Framptons ran a milk round until 1952. Using a bicycle, they delivered to customers who would come out with their jugs to be filled with milk. Elsie Frampton was given an Austin car in 1924; she learnt to drive when cars were rare on the roads in Somerset. When Elsie was younger her uncle bought her a Governess pony trap, which was made in Bristol, they brought it back to Bridgwater by train.
This recording was made in 1973. Leonard Stanley Dunkerton was born in 1888 and farmed in Baltonsborough near Glastonbury. Apart from a short time away from the village to learn how to make cheese, Leonard spent all his life in Baltonsborough; milking the cows by hand in all weathers, making Cheddar cheese, and producing cider.