Wartime Farm

I know a new program starting on BB1 next Thursday 6th Sept (8pm - 9pm) will be of particular interest to Ma, Frank & myself.

Others who found both series of The Victorian Farm & Edwardian Farm will likewise enjoy this new series.





  • Sounds very interesting, hope they have some land girls on there, as there were a lot of lasses that didn't know one end of a cow from another when they enlisted.  A mention of some of the lumberjills would be good, too.

  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,140

    Already noted  David and even in the trailer found a fault, picture of them driving a nice new Fordson Tractor, in your dreams.
    A shared tractor between several farms more like and the rest heavy horses, we had them into the fifties.
    Looking forward to what else comes up.


  • higgy50higgy50 Posts: 184

    Yes I seen this advertised also. It looked like it had potential to be very interesting so I've set the recorder as I'm bound to forget it's on until 5minutes from the end!!



  • There's a full page article about this program in this week's Radio Times.


    I don't know if the incidents described in the article will actually be part of the program, so I won't spoil things by describing them.

    The article does also point out that this was the point at which a lot of the British countryside, especially ancient meadows and wetlands, were irrevocably destroyed. And industrialised food production was introduced, on a scale from which there was no going back.

  • Yes, really looking forward to seeing this programme. I loved the Victorian Farm and Edwardian Farm, so interesting. The programme they had on several weeks ago was another good one, different families living in several houses in a street in Morecambe, the programme took them through Victorian, War time the 60's and the 70's, really good. I love this sort of programme.

  • I'm looking forward to this programme as my grandparents were farmers from the early 1900's until just after WW11. I was told lots of stories from when they had the farm.

    My mother has told me how hard it was, she and her sisters and mother used to churn butter and take it to Nottingham market when she was a child, in a pony and trap. How times have changed!

  • I'm really pleased to hear others are also interested in this new series.

    I remember starting a similar thread on the BBC Gardening boards, just prior to the Victorian Farm series and have to say it turned out to be one of the most interesting & wholesome threads I have seen on any message board. Folks would visit the thread after each episode to reminisce and in several cases share their own agricultural experiences and knowledge of yesteryear.

  • Mum was a small child in Hastings when the war ended, I remember her telling me about sitting under the kitchen table and being scared to death about the noisy thing in the air, because the grown-ups and her older brothers and sisters were scared - she was talkling about the doodle bugs.  I also remember she hated harvest time, as the farmer would cut the corn in ever-decreasing circles, and her brothers and lots of other big boys would be standing around, waiting for the rabbits trapped in the corn to make a run for it.  She did eat the rabbit stew or rabbit pie her Mum served up though!

  • sounds interesting.Could teach us a thing or two .

  • flowering rose wrote (see)

    sounds interesting.Could teach us a thing or two .

    A lovely thought although I doubt it.
    Some of us were there, think Methuselah, and saw that once the hard times started to diminish which was well into the fifties all thoughts of self sufficiency went out of the window with all the furniture, fire dogs, iron bedsteads and anything else considered old fashioned now they buy it all back as "Antiques"?
    The times at the moment are hard and it has pulled people up short, I see gardens that grew only flowers suddenly producing greens to eat, even a few hens here and there, will it last?
    Coming from a time when the garden and animals were the family larder, no Tospots S&M Dingleberries or Chops, (work it out I refuse to advertise) we topped up at the local market Wednesdays and Saturdays which were mainly stalls run by local Market Gardeners, nothing from Chile China or even Chelsea up in our town all local and in season, we have forgotten all that.
    I will watch with interest as they mix and match examples from the folk tales and books of the time and if the last two series are anything to go by will get some of it very wrong. Not all areas were equal, not all farmers got the government Tractors and Harvesters or the Land girls, they did get masses of school kids tatty picking and local people helping with the Harvest. "Oh" and no we did not cut the corn in rings we cut it up one side along the top and down the other side, squares or oblongs or even with some fields geometric shapes and yes as the last bit was cut we were there with the shotguns, my Father was a dead shot with a Catapult and I had a .22 rifle, we ate rabbit every which way, it was extra food.
    It would not be possible to go back, the local Market Gardens are housing estates, the few allotments over subscribed and the small general farmer long gone along with his heavy horses, orchards and mix of animals.
    So endeth the lesson.


  • As with the Victorian & Edwardian Farm series, I'm not expecting accuracy in every minuscule detail, just an outline & general idea of how things were at the time.....time would prevent otherwise.

    Frank, perhaps in should be remembered that there are others hereabouts who in their time may have stacked a few stooks, delivered milk with a pony & trap and cut their pea & bean sticks from the local coppice. image

  • David, minuscule I expect and forgive, massive is not history but faulty information.
    I hope David, there are many who where there abouts and that they will join in the debate as they did with the other series, it got quite lively at times.
    It was certainly a character and memory forming time when school kids had to do their best to help parents who were in war work they who also remembered a previous war and worried about those kids, some of whom thought it a great adventure.


  • "I hope David, there are many who where there abouts and that they will join in the debate as they did with the other series, it got quite lively at times."

    Indeed, Frank! image

  • Just read this clip about tomorrow night's first episode.

    "Historian Ruth Goodman and archaeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn face up to the challenges of the biggest revolution ever seen in the history of the British countryside as they turn Manor Farm back to how it was run in the Second World War. When Britain entered the war, two-thirds of all Britain's food was imported - and now it was under threat from a Nazi blockade. To save Britain from starvation, the nation's farmers were tasked with doubling food production in what Churchill called 'the frontline of freedom'. This meant ploughing up 6.5 million acres of unused land - a combined area bigger than the whole of Wales.

    In this first episode, the farmers find themselves in a new location, a new time period and with a new team member. There is a new farmhouse to modernise, strict new rules to abide by and air raid precautions to contend with.

    The team begin by reclaiming badlands to grow new crops. Peter works with a blacksmith to design a special 'mole plough' to help drain the waterlogged clay fields. Ruth and Alex get to grips with a troublesome wartime tractor - and must plough through the night to get the wheat crop sown in time.

    On top of farmers' herculean efforts to double food production, their detailed knowledge of the landscape also made them ideal recruits for one of the war's most secret organisations - the 'Auxiliary Units', a British resistance force trained to use guerrilla tactics against German invasion."

  • I loved the previous series, so look forward to this one.  Having been born just after the war, I remember the privations that still existed for many long years.  The flower nursery at the end of the garden was just a tiny bit too small to be forced into food production.  I don't know what they did grow - but they certainly kept chickens, which attracted the rats, which attracted the cats - which is why our moggie had lacy ears - the trophies of many fights with competing toms!  This was in North London.  I looked the area up on Google Earth - built on and unrecognisable!

    Relatives in Kent were very much part of the food production imperative.  And they lived beneath "Bomb Alley" - the flight path of the Doodlebugs - so it wasn't without its dangers!  Re-visiting the area around Coxheath some years ago, it was hard to imaging it as producing anything - except houses! 

  • My Mum lived in the Hastings area around the end of the war, and she can remember the ships that came in to lay PLUTO to keep the forward bases for the Normandy landings supplied.  I can remember her telling me about the Doodlebugs, and seeing footage of them, but only fairly recently saw the preserved one at Duxford.  It's a big thing for a bomb, but I can't imagine how skilled some of the pilots were to fly alongside and tip them upside down (it did something to the gyroscope so they crashed).  It must have been terrifying hearing them, and even more terrifying when they cut out!

  • Well - I enjoyed the episode this evening, and look forward to the rest of the series.  Re-enacting farming of the time certainly brings it home to us just how hard it must all have been.  And to think that a paraffin stove was seen as a great innovation and convenient!  I'd read about them - but never seen one in operation, so that was a new experience for me.  We take so much for granted these days. 

  • I enjoyed this first episode too, although having the benefit of knowing the final outcome, it's difficult to comprehend how serious the situation really was.

  • I did watch with some doubt although suitably surprised there were no big errors. The Fordson Tractor in our area on the normal farms was a rarity, although various types of singe cylinder models did exist, it was still mainly steam for threshing and hauling the large roots out of the ground as trees were cleared. When the tractor did arrive we removed the plugs each night and put them on top of the range that never went out, drained the float chamber and next morning filled the float with petrol out of the small tank fired it up with a couple of swings and when warm changed over the paraffin.
    Never saw one of those parafin stoves apart from the Army we had the big black range which burnt what ever we had going plus a gas oven.
    The black outs were a light wood frame and tar paper plus curtains in the bedrooms and over doors with plenty of loose cloth at the bottom to stop draught and keep the light in. We mainly used gas light though did have a single electric lamp in each room and of course the Radio.
    What they did not show was that all spare ground was dug up including parks playing fields common land and even the verges outside houses, they were planted up with food items, millions of people provided a good amount of their own food also keeping a few chicken and a pig, we had a small holding so had quite a few fowl and animals.
    I certainly have no memory of night ploughing probably because we had German Bombers flying in over the coast to go inland Bombing the Northern city's then flying back out over us dropping any spares they had left over on us.
    Just to add we in the North also had flying bombs, the Germans flew near the coast and released them one did fall less than a mile from us.
    Tell Ruth you changed gear at the halt.



    While watching wartime farm something struck me and has rattled round in my head since, it was them listening to the Neville Chamberlain telling us we were at war with Germany, Ruth said I wonder what they were really thinking. I wrote the story a few years back when the grandchildren did a project at school but made it sound a lot less traumatic than it was.
    Too long and off subject for here though I can tell Ruth, it was life changing and a shock to the system seeing my Grandmother and Aunts crying, they remembered the loss of relatives in the first war, and had sons old enough to fight, the men in a panic when the sirens promptly went and the total fear of us children suddenly thrust into a black hole under the stairs with wet towels thrown over our heads.
    That day changed many things for me, we had started by picking up my Aunt Uncle and two cousins, we were the only ones with transport and heading off to Grandma's. There it turned sombre as we played and they prepared lunch and talked. We were called in to hear the announcement which was not at eleven as stated but shortly after, then the weeping started but the sirens turned it into a mad house. When the all clear went it took a long time to calm us kids down, we finally had lunch them motored home, life had changed and even us kids knew it. It was not the broadcast then OK lets get on with it as some try to say.


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