The Walker Family
1920s John Gurney in Millway (Hambridge Way) with a drag harrow preparing the ground for planting. The whipple tree and way trees to which the horses were chained can be seen clearly. Land in Pirton was called “two horse plough,” as two horses were needed to plough one acre in a day. Laurie Franklin was the last farmer to plough with horses in Pirton; Derek Cook remembers the last horse ploughing in 1946 at Recklin’s Piece, the field adjacent to Wood Lane.
1940s At the Elm Tree rickyard, eighteen ricks were built. Rick building continued until 1956 when a combine harvester was bought and storage was no longer needed. Harvesting extended over many more months before combines were used. It would start at the end of July, after the cutting of the hay in June, and go on to November depending on the weather. Ploughing would take place during Autumn and Spring. For over half of the 20th century, the summer would have been a time of great excitement.
1947 Stan and Phil Walker the new owners of Elmtree Farm with a Vauxhall. Gradually young men became mobile and after the war, as people became more prosperous, many families owned a car. At one time, it was quite common to lay the car up for the winter and then to bring it out in Spring. The Sunday drive was a special event.
1950s The cattle yard of Elm Tree Farm was often knee deep in dung. The work gang filled the cart and the dung was taken to be spread on the potato fields. L-R: Ken Walker, Tom Burton, Phil Walker, Joyce Walker, and Johnny Kingsley. In the background is the house on Royal Oak Lane where Ken was born. The cattle yard is where numbers 5, 7and 9, Hambridge Way were built in the 1980s.
Late 1950s Tractors like this Fordson Major were started on petrol, but run on paraffin. L-R: Stan Walker, Nellie Walker, ?,Patty Pickering, Phil Walker, Minnie Males in front, Ken Walker,?, Johnny Kingsley, Betty Titmus, Ann Bennet and Alan Walker. Tractors shortened the working day – it was no longer necessary to walk the horses through the village pond to clean them, and more importantly to wet the cart wheels to stop them shrinking and shedding their iron rims.
Late 1950s A Fordson Major tractor, lifting dung in the cattle yard of Elm Tree Farm. L-R: Ken Walker, Stan Walker