Memories of a Haslingfield Childhood – Part 1

For the next few postings I intend to summarise Nora Cannell’s ‘Memories of a Haslingfield Childhood’, a booklet published by the Village Society in 1983. When we receive permission from her nearest living relation, I hope to publish the whole of the booklet’s text on the website.

Nora was born at the start of the twentieth century into what was essentially an agricultural community. Many of the farms in the village have long since disappeared, and are only remembered in street names – Moss Farm, Lilac Farm, Quarry Farm, Grove Farm … There were also a number of small holdings, consisting mainly of arable land, a paddock, orchard, horse, cow, breeding sow and poultry. The payment of the tithe to the church, one tenth of the annual proceeds of each holding, caused some hardship. Many took their produce by cart to market in Cambridge.

The steam plough was beginning to replace the horse in the fields. Traction engine cables hauled huge ploughs from one side of the field to the other. The first tractor appeared, which looked like a World War I caterpillar tank. Pay on the land was low, and workers supplemented their income with produce from the allotments. Increased mechanisation on the land, and increased wages in the larger cities, led to some exodus from the village. Those who remained still enjoyed the Feast, the flower show, the school treats and village concerts that had been a feature of Haslingfield village life for decades.

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