Thursday, 2 December 2010

Edwardian farm crafts

It has been a pleasure to watch Edwardian Farm. HCA Patron Alex Langlands has been trying out more crafts this time joining Nigel Legge lobsterpot maker, artist, fisherman. He seemed like a lovely bloke with a fine accent. He also seems to have a perfect lifestyle with a mix of making lobster pots, painting and taking holiday makers on boat trips. Next time I am down that way I shall definitely look him up. Alex said "Nigel was a top chap - really understated his skills - a great painter too. It was one of those magical days spent down there in Cornwall."
The pots worked too.

 I was envious of Peter Gynn too visiting the wonderful J &FJ Baker oak bark Tannery. Here is owner Andrew Parr the tannery has been in the family since 1864 and is one of the last tanneries in the UK still using oak bark, I loved the water powered bark grinder. My friend Owen Jones the swill basket maker who was featured in Victorian farm supplies them with some of their oak bark.
It was a very photogenic place, first the hide was soaked in lime, then the hair scraped away. Then it was immersed in vats with oak bark for a year.

Finally it was oiled, dried and finished with dubin.

Whilst I am posting I'll include a couple of links from episode 2 which I missed at the time. Peter went to St Fagans in Cardiff to meet a cooper. Shame they didn't know about Alistair Simms the last master cooper of Wadworth's at Devises.

 I was pleased to see Alex with his Sussex Trug, it seemed appropriate since he has light Sussex chickens and trugs were mass produced and sold around the country.

The fencing on the right is also a Sussex specialty but one which has only recently traveled further afield as horsey folk can afford to have the heavy sweet chestnut rails transported. It still looks better than the tanalised softwood fence on the left though. I find it interesting that fencing is seemingly invisible to people. Few folk would notice this modern fence and I wonder if the production company decided to let it go whilst going to great lengths elsewhere to keep as much as possible true to the Edwardian time frame.


  1. I agree with your observation of the modern fencing. Although it is a common sight on many equestrian plots it is preferable over the white ribbon fencing that is easily installed. I do love the chestnut fencing, the irregular design is very natural and satisfying, I'm guessing it it's true form it is also naturally tanalised?

    This show is brilliant, I think it tops Victorian Farm, very inspiring. The presenters explain what they are doing with passion and enthusiasm.

  2. Thank you so much for the links, they add 3D quality to the programme, allowing us to look into each of the crafts in more detail, and supporting them in our practices.

    Best wishes - inspiring as always...