Somerset Voices: Meg Paul (b.1923)

In 1944 Meg Paul came from Burnley to join the Land Army in Somerset. She was sent to Steanbow Farm, Pilton, where girls were trained for a month to milk cows. Meg worked for six months at a farm in Pilton. The War Agriculture Committee then transferred Meg to Priddy to a tractor drivers’ depot, where she was trained to drive and maintain Fordson Major tractors. Meg was sent to different farms to plough and cultivate the land. Meg married in 1948 when she left the Land Army.

Listen to Meg and read the transcript.

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Piddletrenthide Memorial

Whitaker surname origins

Surnames in England were originally largely derived from one of three sources.  The location they were associated with, their occupation or the given name of their father.  My Whitaker ancestors are no exception and fall into the first category of location based names.

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Somerset Voices: Jack, George and Madeleine Paul

Jack, George and Madeleine Paul worked all their lives in the well-known firm of builders and painters and decorators, founded by their grandfather in 1893. They undertook various kinds of work in the business – George specialised in sign-writing and Madeleine ran the office. The firm painted schools, offices, pubs, and churches and was contracted to build some of the military camps that sprung up in Somerset during the Second World War.

listen to Jack, George and Madeleine and read the transcript.

Prison: five hundred years behind bars

This podcast from the National Archives takes look at the changing nature of imprisonment over the centuries and the experiences of those who endured it, charting the growth of the national prison system in England and Wales from castle dungeons to purpose-built concrete gaols.

Web archives: now and in the future

On May 21, 2009 The United Kingdom National Archives announced a study into how archived websites are collected and made available to users. The study is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee and will take place in collaboration with the UK Web Archiving Consortium.

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Somerset Voices: Grace Parish (b.1919)

Grace Parish and her husband farmed together in Pawlett near Bridgwater. Here she discusses flooding, a common occurrence for residents of the low lying Somerset Levels.

Listen to Grace and read the transcript.

Memorial Day

Tomorrow is Memorial Day in the United States, a federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May. Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.

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Feet of Fines

The Full Abstracts of the Feet of Fines Relating to the County of Dorset: Remaining in the Public Record Office, London, from Their Commencement in the Reign of Richard I, was published by  Edward Alexander Fry and George Samuel Fry in 1896.

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Somerset Voices: William Palmer (b.1884)

William Palmer of Stoke St Gregory began basket making at the age of eleven years and carried on for nearly seventy-eight years. He worked with his uncle when he started, earning two shillings a week. His earnings gradually increased as his work improved. William received piecework wages, and was paid between tenpence and a shilling for each chair. William worked on his own from 1907 after his uncle emigrated to Canada, buying his own premises in 1915. In 1916 he joined the Army for two years.

Listen to William and read the transcript.

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