Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile richard kell : toolmaker Previous Previous Next Next
Rural life ....

Its probably forty years since I have seen or heard Jack Hargreaves and tootling over on youtube there are numerous snippets well worth watching. I can remember distinctly being round at my friend Jimmys a few yards along North Lane seeing these programmes, perhaps our own tv couldn't receive that channel, if it was bbc2 then we wouldn't ... or perhaps simply the tv was  .... nbg !

Jack Hargreaves immediately strikes me as a man well worth listening to, even more so in these more 'modern times'. Here in the clip below he tells us that before the Second War agriculture was a horse driven affair and after returning from the war it was all internal combustion engine, lend-lease USA tractors had flooded the country to quote the man himself. Perhaps we can wonder if this was to de-skill and increase production. He also tells us at 00:20 that ....

"The week I came back I saw two beautiful shire horses and the same I had grown up with ... win a ploughing match .... and go to a butchers the same night"

end of quote.

wow .. that hit me.

heres a link to the above quote .... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw9OQ4pDlMg

and heres another interesting Jack Hargreaves link ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hw9OQ4pDlMg

*livejournal embed and linking seems to be in the doldrums tonight....

horses at twilight 9th Sept 2013

Contact with horses is a very rewarding activity, it was proven nearly a century ago that when shell-shocked soldiers came back from the First War that the only thing they could connect with or that could reach them was in fact working with horses. I started being involved with horses thirteen years ago and can well see the wisdom in this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Riding_for_the_Disabled_Association started with returning soldiers.

If we could cut out the spiralling modern madness of endless insurance cover, fear or threat of being 'liable', over-protection and knee jerk claims for damage, so many good things would be possible.

If I had my way there would be many places nationwide that offered help to people that have difficulty with life, using horses to farm with, grow produce for sale.  I am sure any financial assistance ploughed into them would be money well spent and a far better way of using money than the many madcap schemes for art and nonsense that seem to be the norm these days. Ditto the absurd sums of money I read about channelled for assisting small business, eventually so much seems to get soaked up in salaries and costs before ever reaching the intended recipients; common sense is increasingly uncommon.

Imagine the sound of the horses each morning as they trundle out to work and the sound again as they return home, I am sure many would benefit from this, a very 'grounded' real sound. We seem to have lost track of what is good for humans, obsessively reaching for the latest technology or the latest pretension; we should stand back and choose what suits us best. I do this deliberately in my own workshop, theres lots i do that will have altered little in a century, it suits me.

Another backward step in the UK has been the loss of Remploy, an organisation that was employment and a proper job for the disabled. I did a few days work for them as a toolmaker twenty years ago and was impressed with the factory and the product. But money pressures were hellish for the manager i was dealing with and years later a huge network of factories and facilities has been closed down, everything sold off. The lunacy of this beggars belief, I'm still uncertain of the true story i sense some cooked up set of reasons to 'sell the idea' of closure.

Theres a very good song by George Butterworth  'Is my team still ploughing'  that is a real tear jerker, well worth exploring; theres more to this than is immediately apparent. It is adapted from A.E.Housman 'A Shropshire Lad'.  Local man Thomas Allen from Seaham is famous for this piece, but heres someone else....

see 08:06 ..... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8Cq80UGpc0 .... 'Is my team still ploughing'.

I am fully aware of the poverty and strict limitations by social position of working people in times gone by, the difficulty of tied cottages, working in cold and wet, seldom a doctor, work at fourteen or earlier, perhaps also an ignorant or callous employer. Its not always the amber glow of the setting sun of another 'interesting' rural day, more a nackered pained and weary dive to bed after some victuals.  In the area i live now which years ago was devoted to coal mining it was built on the migration of families and workers hoping to escape rural poverty a century or more ago. You cannot thwart the inventiveness of clever men, the rise of mechanisation and the need for increased output meant horses were sure to be ousted as motive power. In many cases I can only see it is to the good when it reduces some of the back breaking work of years gone by that was always done by hand; here I'm thinking of the working man, but still we should choose a level of technology that suits us, can provide activity and a better way of living that can sometimes pass as 'modern life'.

For what i consider to be a more realistic view of older times theres obviously Sturts 'The Wheelwrights Shop' but also Rose 'The Village Carpenter' and I would suggest 'Ask the Fellows that Cut the Hay' by George Ewart Evans, which gives voice to the people 'at the sharp end' so to speak.  E.P. Thompson in his 'The Making of the English Working Class' is incredibly worthwhile. Also Mayhew provides a view of those worse off.

Postscript ... however theres more to Jack Hargreaves than I had realised, he was in fact a Director on the Board of Southern TV in the UK and his wiki tells us its central London where he made his mark,  known as a talented and innovative Editor, broadcaster and latterly tv work.

very interesting ..... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Hargreaves

A minor point but fascinating .... Jack Hargreaves Edited 'Lilliput' magazine as well as 'Picture Post' and of the former the excellent front cover illustrations were for many years always a man, a woman and a small terrier.



 I make honing guides for woodworkers, see my sales website on http://richardkell.co.uk


Tags: , , ,

Leave a comment