Saturday, 25 January 2014

Smithy Lane Cottages 1948

Smithy Lane Cottages, now demolished, were situated halfway along the village on the south side of the road, these were occupied by three families, at the far end out of the picture is the front door is the cottage that John Lowe with his wife and family. The main front door with the porch Jim Doughty and his wife Vera  and at this end Bill Ecclestone and his wife , (thats Mrs Ecclestone in the picture at her front wicket) they lived in the smaller section attached to this end of the main house, it can be seen in the lower picture on the right. I understood that Bill was the thatcher, he got too old and unsteady to repair the thatch on the old estate cottages and no one left with enough skills to do that kind of roof repairs. 

To add to the problem of thatching, combines were just coming in and the wheat crop had to be left standing another two weeks to get fully ripe, by this time the straw was brittle and broke up going through the drum of the combine head first. When cut with a binder there was some green and life still in the stem/straw, and harvested long so to speak, then later in the winter it was fed into the threshing drum parallel with the rotation of the drum the straw coming out still long.  
As time went on new varieties of wheat were bred with shorter straw and higher yielding of grain. Now some fields of wheat are grown for its straw here and there for the thatching industry, such as there is, harvested in the old traditional way.

These were taken down to make way for the second lot of twenty houses and four bungalows, two of which sit on the site of these old cottages. The cellar to the middle one reached out from under the house almost to the edge of the road, it took almost half the rubble from the house to fill in the cellar

Bill Ecclestone with his dog standing looking back at who is taking the picture, his cottage is on the right. The over hanging branches of the oak tree on the right was sawn down by two men and a cross cut saw, the old stump is still there, rotting away with some flowers now planted in it. Again that was sawn down to make way for the new houses, the hedge and hedge bank excavated out to make a road way in to a cul de sac, Bramall Close.