Welcome to Farming Forebears, our regular feature where we delve into the rich history of British farming.
Thanks to all of our brilliant readers for sharing their amazing farm photos from days gone by. Please keep them coming in as we love seeing them, although we can’t always publish them all.
This time we’ve got a fascinating selection of photos from the 1920s to the 1960s.
Tim Matthewson shared this shearing photo taken in the 1930s at South Middleton near Wooler in Northumberland.
The farm was owned by James Deuchar, hence the JD initials on the busting iron held by B Robson in the front row.
“I’m a descendent of Bob Matthewson and am the fourth generation of Matthewsons to work on South Middleton, which is now owned by Lilburn Estates,” says Tim.
Here’s a shot of Joan and Jack Rowlatt drilling spring barley near Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire in 1937. They were tenants at Hill End Farm until, nine years later, they bought Blacklaines Farm, Birdlip on the Cotswolds.
“In 1955 they moved to Mount Pleasant Farm, Broadway. They both enjoyed hard-working, happy farming lives,” says their son John Rowlatt.
This happy photo was taken around 1950 at Wear Farm, Bishopsteignton in Devon next to the mangel clamp. It shows the mother of Trevor Davey, Marion (far right) at the age of 12 or 13.
The boy sat on the horse is Trevor’s uncle, Patrick Coaker, who still farms today at Widecombe-in-the-Moor in Devon.
“The lady second from the right is my grandmother Elsie Coaker and the little girl stood in front of her is my auntie, Anna Jones. The chap with the reins in his hand was a farmworker called Oliver Brewer,” says Trevor.
Here’s John and Robert Laybourn harvesting wheat in the early 1960s at Elmsall Lodge Farm, Badsworth in West Yorkshire.
The machines in this photo are an International B64 combine being pulled by an IH B275. In the background another International B275 is loading sacks onto a trailer pulled by a Fordson E27N.
The farm is still running Case IH tractors and combines today, says Robert.
Brindley Hosken shared this photo of his grandfather Willie Hosken (left), along with his sister Mossie (second left) and two of his brothers, Dennis and Vallie. It was taken at Clowance Barton Farm, Praze in Cornwall in the 1930s.
“My grandpa moved to Boundis Farm at Mabe to farm in his own right after this, before buying Withan Farm in 1953. This is where I now farm,” says Brindley. “My grandfather died in 1982, but he still has seven grandsons farming in west Cornwall.”
David Watson sent this photo of his grandfather Daniel Kirkland’s threshing outfit, threshing at Garrockhill Farm in Ayrshire in the late 1920s.
“The price was six shillings and sixpence per hour and farmers had to supply coal and water,” says David.
Heather Middleton shared this snap of her grandfather Isaac Horner (right) shoeing an ox in the village of Hackforth in north Yorkshire.
This photo sent in by Frank Dumbleton shows horses working in a field on the slope of Hagbourne Hill in Chilton, Oxfordshire in the early 1940s.
“The horses belonged to WJ Harris who farmed at Chilton Farm from 1888 until he died in 1943, after which the farm was sold,” says Frank.
“I was told by WJ Harris’s family that this photograph was used in Farmers Weekly in the early 1940s to show how agriculture was carrying on during the war.
“In the background of the photo is Harwell Airfield and you can see the aircraft in the dispersal areas on the right.”
East Durham College has shared these photos to celebrate the 80th anniversary of its Houghall Campus.
These snaps show the first building stone being laid (above) and the agriculture minister of the day, William Morrison, at the campus’ official opening in 1938.
How to share your photos
We’d like to see photos of your farming forebears – they could appear in the pages of Farmers Weekly.
All we need is a photo and a line or two (feel free to write more if you’d like to) about whoever is in the picture.
If you already have a digital image, email us a copy and if you have a print, you can either scan it or take a photo of it with your phone or camera and email it to us.
Don’t worry if you’re not an expert with a camera – snaps are fine. Email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and your photo could appear in Farmers Weekly.
Tips on taking a handy snap
If you’re taking a snap of a paper photograph, try to zoom in nice and close so you get lots of detail.
Check there isn’t too much glare/refection (no pics taken under the arc lamp in the yard, please).
Try to take pictures flat-on to the print (so the camera or phone lens is parallel to the paper rather than slanted upwards at an angle).