Duration: 62 minutes 53 seconds
This is an interview with Peggy Jolliffe on the 4th April 2017 at Tile House in Shanklin.
Peggy: I know this was where I was born and worked.
Lisa: Oh, that was where you were born. What’s the name of it Peggy ?
Peggy: Dukes Farm.
Lisa: And where is it?
Peggy: Dukes Farm at Rew Street at Gurnard.
Lisa: And were you born there?
Lisa: Are you from a farming family Peggy?
Lisa: Was your father a farmer?
Peggy: Definitely. He was born and worked at [inaudible] Farm on the Yarmouth Road, on that bend.
Lisa: And what was his surname?
Lisa: Flux. That’s a good Island name isn’t it?
Peggy: Oh very much a farming name, yeah.
Lisa: And what about your mother? Did she work on the farm as well?
Peggy: No, she was working in … where did Nanny work?
Wendy Oh, the one at Porchfield?
Peggy: No, I’m trying to think …
Peggy: No, that was the Mousehole family.
Lisa: How do I spell that Wendy?
Wendy What’s that?
Wendy B I T T L E fields.
Lisa: And that’s on Yarmouth Road?
Peggy: Yes, there’s a horrible bend or an ‘S’ bend
Wendy Go across the BMW Garage, carry on going towards Yarmouth and it’s on that bend.
Lisa: So tell me about this farm then Peggy: . What kind of farm was it?
Lisa: And how many cows?
Peggy: It got up to 40.
Lisa: And as a little girl, did you have to help out around the farm?
Peggy: Oh yeah and I enjoyed doing it with the calves and things like that, oh yes.
Lisa: So what sort of thing did you do to help out?
Peggy: Help rear the calves. I’d go and help get the cows in but trouble is with animals, it’s more of a grown up person’s job, not a child’s.
You had to get to a certain age before you were trusted to go and get the cows in yourself, all that sort of thing.
Lisa: Did you help with the milking?
Peggy: Oh you tried to when you are young, yes, but that’s how you learn to these jobs. You’re there helping and eventually you do take on the job, don’t you?
Lisa: And when you were a girl then, were they doing milking by hand or did they have a milking machine?
Peggy: No, look at my hand. I learnt by hand and in the Young Farmers, we had competitions milking by hand and all that sort of thing, you know so I was brought up for all of it. I enjoyed it though because I knew what I was doing and I was with other people and we had a Young Farmers Club at the time.
Lisa: So what did you get up to in the Young Farmers Club?
Peggy: Well we had a club meetings and talks and things like that and then we had our annual Dinner and Dance which was held at Sandown at the time. Yes, we enjoyed ourselves, we got to know each other and we also enjoyed ourselves.
Wendy In here is Young Farmers stuff …
Wendy … so you carry on talking while I carry on rooting.
Wendy Well you know what I mean.
Lisa: So did you grow up … your whole childhood here Peggy: ?
Peggy: Yes, until I got married to an Electrician, wasn’t he?
Wendy He certainly was.
Lisa: So your husband was an Electrician.
Peggy: I suppose we met through …
Wendy You met through Joan Reed.
Peggy: That’s right, yes, her husband wasn’t it?
Wendy That’s right, yes.
Lisa: And so you moved with your husband. Where did you live when you got married?
Peggy: Pallance Road, near Wyatts Lane
Wendy Pallance Road.
Peggy: Oh yes, just above the footpath.
Wendy That’s right, yes. It’s only just down the road, round the corner and back to the farm where I was working. Well I was pregnant and I had stop for a time and then I used to go back and take the baby with me and … was you the eldest baby?
5 minutes 3 seconds
Wendy Well unless you’ve got someone that you haven’t told me about (laughs).
Peggy: Who was behind you then? Andrew?
Wendy Yes. You haven’t got any more kids that you haven’t told me about have you?
Peggy: Two’s enough (laughs)
Wendy You had two lovely children.
Peggy: Oh, you speak for yourself (laughs).
Lisa: So you were pregnant with Wendy then and you were still working?
Peggy: Oh God yeah.
Lisa: And then you used to take her when she was a baby …
Peggy: Back to the farm and Nanny looked after the kids.
Lisa: … back to the farm …
Wendy Yes, stayed down that farm every day pretty much didn’t I?
Peggy: Oh you both did, didn’t you?
Wendy Yes, we just used to sit in the farmhouse with Nan. She was often by herself and then we’d go back home when she went home. A lot of happy days there. Very different now though.
Peggy: Yes I expect we’d find it different going back there.
Wendy Um, you would mum, you would.
Peggy: But I don’t want to go back there because of that reason.
Lisa: Was it sold eventually then?
Peggy: No, no there … it’s my nephew’s isn’t?
Wendy Yes, nephews …
Lisa: Oh it got passed down in the family.
Wendy Oh Gawd, hang on. [attends to another resident]
Peggy: She’s missing up here.
Lisa: How many acres was the farm, Peggy: .
Peggy: When we had Skinners it was round about 90 acres.
Lisa: And did you grow crops as well?
Peggy: Yes, for the animals. It was all done, everything was done for the animals, yes. I’m trying to think. We grew kale and all that sort of thing for the cows …
Peggy: Yes and we electric fenced the cow off and deer in the winter if they went out and got what they was rationed to that particular day.
Lisa: Did you have much machinery on the farm, tractors and …
Peggy: We had what was available at the time, what was used at the time, we sort of kept up with what was available, useable and all that sort of thing, so there we are.
Lisa: Did you drive a tractor?
Peggy: Yes, I think I first steered a tractor at four, but you don’t do much steering. You were only allowed to do that sort of thing. You weren’t working other machinery behind you at the time but it all eventually came round and dealt with.
Lisa: So was it your father that taught you how to drive the tractor?
Peggy: I don’t know about who taught me ‘cos there’s only one person on the tractor isn’t there? So they let me … showed me what I had to do to move it on which was first gear, and you stayed in that gear for a little while until you gradually learned how to change the gears and things like that. But tractors weren’t that fast at the time so … took everything in it’s stage.
Lisa: Did you make hay? In the summer?
Peggy: Yes, oh that was the main feed for the winter that was. You needed good weather during the summer otherwise you didn’t make such good hay. Wasn’t so good for the animals during the winter and like the cows, they do need the right sort of stuff, you wouldn’t get the milk. It affects you all down the line if you know what I mean? But there you had to work with the seasons and that was the life.
Lisa: Can you tell me a bit more about hay making? How did you do it? Did you have a baler or was it done by hand?
Peggy: No, everything was done by machinery, tractors, towing and all that sort of thing, baler.
Wendy Combine harvester.
Peggy: Yes, the combine …
Wendy Uncle John used to drive the combine harvester didn’t he? It was orange wasn’t it?
Peggy: We didn’t own it did we?
Wendy I dunno.
Peggy: Look out, it’s on the walk [referring to someone else in the room].
Wendy You’d better hold onto your stuff Lisa: …
Lisa: What kind of cows were they, Peggy: ?
Wendy I think we’ve got … didn’t I find a picture there?
Lisa: And what’s the milk like from a Guernsey cow, is a very high fat content?
Peggy: Not … I think the Jersey is the highest but we weren’t far behind. Because we kept Guernsey’s and we passed the grade, we had a little bit extra money for our milk when the Creamery’s took it.
Lisa: So it was collected by the Creamery’s then in a lorry, the milk?
Peggy: A tanker?
Lisa: In a tanker. [asides with other people in the room].
Peggy: I expect she’s [inaudible] me leaving were you?
10 minutes 18 seconds
Lisa: So the Creamery was in Newport was it?
Peggy: Yes, but I think everything that’s picked up now goes direct to the Mainland, and tankers are bigger of course.
Lisa: Yes, so now it has to go over to the Mainland to be treated and then it comes back?
Peggy: What’s needed on the Island, yes.
Lisa: Whereas back then it was bottled up in the Creamery at Newport.
Peggy: In the Creamery, yeah.
Lisa: I bet Newport was different in those days wasn’t it? Do you remember the market?
Peggy: Oh yeah. I’m trying to … oh there’s a supermarket there now isn’t in that area?
Lisa: Morrison’s. I think it’s Morrison’s now.
Wendy It’s Marks and Spencer’s, well Morrisons mainly. Yeah, I remember that. I remember going there. We used to get dragged along.
Peggy: I like the word ‘dragged’.
Wendy Well we didn’t think it was that much fun at the time. It was, “Oh, where are we going now?”
Lisa: How does it work on a dairy farm then Peggy: , when your cows calve, do you keep the calves or do the calves get sold?
Peggy: We had Guernsey’s at the time. We kept the females but we only kept a male through the one that had to go off for veal. Because they weren’t a meaty type of animal. You had to go for Friesians and other breeds to get the meat.
Lisa: And would someone come and collect them or would you have to take them?
Peggy: Take them where?
Lisa: To be killed for veal.
Peggy: Oh I think all animals from Duke’s was took by lorry because we had no particular transport to cope with them so they went where they did in a lorry. We’re going back some years now.
Wendy I’m trying to think who we used to get to take them now.
Wendy I’m trying to think who you used to get to take the cattle. Oh, it was …
Peggy: Downport [inaudible] wasn’t it?
Wendy That’s it. So she knew more … she can remember more than I can. Yes, Sherlawss did a bit, Light Browns did a bit didn’t they?
Wendy Light Brown? Was it Light Brown?
Peggy: No. Something like that but I can’t think of the name at the moment.
Wendy It was definitely Sherlaws, I remember Sherlaws.
Peggy: Well they had contracts to do this sort of work for whoever they were going to, well if they were going direct to the Slaughterhouse, but if you were sending them to the Salisbury Market, you made your own arrangements with who you wanted to.
Lisa: So what was the market like then? You remember it Wendy?
Wendy Yeah I do.
Peggy: That’s where, who is it now, is it Martins is it …
Lisa: So you could take your animals there to sell …
Wendy All I remember is a massive great …
Peggy: Shed or roof…
Wendy … well yes, shed, building …
Peggy: … with big doors to it …
Wendy … big wide doors and they you’d go in and there would be lots of little pens and then there’d be an area where you … they’d showed them for selling. That’s what I remember.
Peggy: Long time ago.
Wendy I’m quite impressed I remember actually.
Lisa: So this ploughing match certificate.
Peggy: Yeah, third prize. The dairy competition. What’s that one? That’s the first …
Wendy What do you remember about them?
Peggy: Well, one’s best kept Dairy and one’s for the complete farm. It was all done with the Agricultural Union, the National Farmers Union.
‘Awarded to H P and J Flux’. Howard, Peggy: and John. Howard was my father’s name, then come me and then my brother John.
Wendy So what did you have to do for that one?
Peggy: They come and inspect your Dairy equip … all the equipment you use for the Dairy and the actual Dairy where the milk went through and was collected by the Creamery’s and that’s where all that come … and you had to … well like keeping your kitchen tidy or washed or whatever you had to do. So I come up with that one.
Lisa: So it had to be ship shape then?
Peggy: Had to be clean and painted. Spotless, you know what I mean because you were handling food and these inspections, you could guarantee you’d have an inspection and not know it was going to happen. But then you’d always be sure of yourself, wouldn’t you if you knew it was going to happen. See you had to be on the ball all the time really. You handled food and we sold direct to people the milk.
15 minutes 25 seconds
Wendy So what do you remember about this one?
Peggy: First prize. Well they come and inspected the whole farm, what animals you kept, how well they looked, what was your management like. It went through everything, you know for this sort of thing so …
Lisa: So that’s something to be proud of then? First prize.
Peggy: Yeah and I had third best kept … oh that was a third, 1966. I went from third to first. That was a good sign wasn’t it?
Lisa: In 1968, you got first prize then. So then in the 1960’s that was you and your father and your brother who are managing the farm.
Peggy: Yeah, we worked all together. And then when my father died, my brother went to live in the farm house. That’s when I was living in Pallance Road then I think … I don’t know.
Wendy Sorry mum, I didn’t hear that bit.
Peggy: What was you said to me?
Lisa: I said that was 1968 and it was you, and your father and your brother that were managing the farm.
Peggy: Until father died … didn’t he drop down …
Wendy No, it wouldn’t … oh you mean Uncle John, you’re talking about now?
Peggy: No, Grandad. I think he come out one day and see if he was finished work or something or other and he dropped dead as he come out.
Wendy Oh, I don’t remember that.
Peggy: A long time ago.
Wendy I think you moved in with dad in 1971, didn’t you? So you were on the farm until about 1971.
Peggy: What living on the farm?
Wendy Well I assume so.
Peggy: Well I got married and went to the bungalow.
Wendy That’s what I mean.
Peggy: Leave home early … I still continued working for a time didn’t I until somebody decided they would come along.
Wendy Oh I’m sorry about that. You should have spoke to dad about that (laughs).
Peggy: Little brother came along afterwards.
Wendy Yes, I was so good you see it took me six years to build up to the next one didn’t it?
Lisa: Were you still involved in the farm when your children were growing up?
Peggy: What happened when I left the farm?
Wendy No, you still kept going. We just slotted in round you.
Peggy: Yeah but who …
Wendy Who what?
Peggy: How did I come to leave the farm?
Wendy You retired when you were 70.
Peggy: Did something happen to Uncle John?
Wendy Yes, Uncle John died …
Peggy: Died didn’t he? I stayed there long enough to get things sorted out and then I retired but then I was about 70 wasn’t I?
Wendy Yeah you were, you were 70. Tell Lisa: what an average day was like so what time did you leave home?
Peggy: I’d wake up about six, quarter past, get up at half past, [replies to another person in the room] …
Wendy [talks to other person in the room]. Right, so carry on.
Peggy: What were we saying?
Lisa: An average day, what time did you get up in the morning?
Peggy: A quarter past six, leave home half past, down farm about twenty to seven, got the cows and I was milking cows about seven. And that was every day, seven days a week. The animals stick to their time as well, you’ve got … you know in the afternoon the cows are waiting or early in the morning the cows are waiting. They didn’t wear watches or anything like that, but their old brains worked.
Lisa: Did you milk twice a day?
Peggy: Yeah. [talks to other people in the room]
Lisa: I bet there were lots of other jobs to do during the day then, as well as the cows?
20 minutes 18 seconds
Peggy: There was always something … shifting tons from one pound or another, cleaning out the pounds and all that sort of thing. Always something else you …. never looking for a job. And their all beef down there now aren’t they, there’s no milk produced down there now.
Wendy You had pigs as well didn’t you?
Peggy: Yeah, no pigs down there now. Never had sheep.
Lisa: How many pigs did you have?
Peggy: I was working out the number of sties. The sows would have little ones in the ones nearest the Dairy and then there was reared up the other ones. But the sties are not used at all now …
Wendy I reckon about six.
Peggy: Six what?
Wendy Sties. Because there was about four there and there’s two there.
Peggy: That’s right, yeah. And there were some further …
Peggy: There, where the dung heap is.
Wendy Oh, yeah, no your right. They were there as well, yeah, you’re right. See, I can’t remember.
Peggy: It only made me think when I see the photographs. I expect it’s changed again now. There’s the deep litter where we used to keep the hens. Now they’re not kept, they keep calves I think at that end, that particular thing now.
Wendy Where did you keep the calves, do you remember?
Peggy: Calves? Um, that’s the milking shed wasn’t it? There’s the bigger ones, round here, this area.
Lisa: Did the pigs go off to slaughter then after a while?
Peggy: When they got the right stage, yes.
Lisa: And was that done on the Island then?
Peggy: There was a slaughterhouse at [inaudible] is it? I think everything goes to the Mainland now. New rules and all that sort of thing come in and it’s all gone across now.
Lisa: And did you get some of the meat back or did you sell it all?
Peggy: We never had anything back. No, it all went to the slaughterhouse and we never knew where it went from there.
Lisa: You never got to eat your own pigs?
Wendy No, not really.
Peggy: We did, we had the odd one slaughtered. It was cut up and … a side of pig and things like that.
Wendy I remember chicken.
Peggy: Yeah, we used to have that at Christmas, and turkeys.
Wendy Yeah, you used to do turkeys didn’t you?
Lisa: For Christmas?
Peggy: Yes, we sold direct to the public, you know, and we had the same people come back nearly every year. But all that stopped now.
Lisa: And you had hens. Were you selling the eggs?
Peggy: Yes and any eggs … there’s an egg station … there was a place that if you had a lot of hens and a lot of eggs to dispose of, it was in Newport.
Lisa: So you’d take them there and they’d sell them for you. They’d buy them off you?
Peggy: They’d buy them wholesale and then it was up to them what they did with them then.
Wendy You used to sell loads as well didn’t you?
Peggy: Oh yeah, anybody who wanted them.
Wendy Just used to have a little shop in the porch didn’t you?
Peggy: And this road, off of [inaudible] went right up to the cliff. An old Army Camp was up there.
Lisa: What’s the soil like in this part of the Island?
Peggy: Well what they class as heavy. You couldn’t go out and plough it any when, work it. If the weather had been, like wintertime, the frosts would help you, but you had to work most of your land in the Spring when the weather was right and the stuff wanted to grow and that sort of thing.
Lisa: Does it limit what you can grow, the type of soil?
Peggy: I think so ‘cos you go out middle of the Island out Sandown, Shanklin way that sort of thing, you’ll see different fields with something in. Yeah, different fields will grow … places were growing different things, whatever they feel they can make their money on they done it didn’t they and that was it.
Lisa: Do you think this area has changed much over the years, the landscape? What you can see now compared to then?
Peggy: I wouldn’t have thought so.
25 minutes 8 seconds
Wendy Not massively.
Peggy: No, I wouldn’t have thought so.
Lisa: Do you remember wild life on the farm?
Peggy: What do you mean by wildlife?
Lisa: Well different types of birds and badgers and squirrels and that sort thing.
Peggy: Squirrels, they’re a rarity in our area because they had the Parkhurst Forest they lived in all the time so that was a rarity. Wild animals? Yeah, there were a few foxes about but if they was caught on the farm they were automatically disposed of.
Lisa: Were you taught how to use a gun?
Peggy: No way! I couldn’t bear …
Wendy That’s a no then (laughs)
Peggy: … I couldn’t bear the things being used.
Lisa: You didn’t like guns.
Peggy: No, they’d go off shooting or things like that for rabbits. I was never around where a gun was. But then that’s life.
Lisa: So let’s have a look at some of these other things then shall we? Well this looks like an old farm sale.
Peggy: Oh, Whippits. That was my Uncle and [inaudible] had that. [reads from document] … September ’69. Um, a long time ago.
Wendy Which one was Whippits, I can’t think which one it is.
Peggy: Um, how can I tell you? Very long road so you wouldn’t see it from the road but you see a long road going up to it. [inaudible] Hill?
Peggy: If you went from Rew Street …
Wendy That’s not where …
Peggy: Now you can’t think. John Hayward?
Wendy It’s getting annoying. It’s awful isn’t it?
Peggy: But John’s no longer with us, so …
Wendy No I know, I miss him. So that’s where John Hayward was yes?
Peggy: No, the [inaudible] of Mr and Mrs C A W Chopping, which is my Aunt and Uncle.
Wendy Oh yes.
Peggy: Uncle Charlie …
Wendy Uncle Charlie, bless him.
Lisa: What was their surname?
Lisa: What happens at a farm sale then? You go to the farm and they’re selling off their stock?
Peggy: Whatever was on that farm is sold that day. They start off with the dead stock, what they call the dead stock is small implements …
Wendy Sounds a bit posh.
Peggy: … no, …
Wendy No I know it isn’t that, it’s just the wording isn’t it?
Peggy: Yes, it’s the wording, um call it an implement sale if you like. All that stuff that was used on the farm would be sold first and then the cattle would be followed up afterwards. Whippet’s Farm that’s Rolls Hill. Do you know the Island at all?
Lisa: Not that part of the Island very well.
Peggy: Thorness was a Holiday Camp, there was a Holiday Camp there …
Lisa: Yes, I know where that is.
Peggy: Well Whippet’s was more or less joining up that, the North side of it.
Lisa: So is this you in this photo?
Peggy: Yes, we used to go showing.
Lisa: Oh tell me a bit about that?
Peggy: Well the Annual Show every year …
Lisa: Where was it held?
Peggy: Two or three places …
Wendy Don’t look at me.
Peggy: Blackwater I should imagine this one was and it looks to be the Guernsey ‘William’ was a first prize winner.
Wendy Billy the Bull.
Peggy: Billy the Bull (laughs).
Wendy That’s how I knew him, Billy the Bull. He had pals that no other …
Lisa: Billy the Bull got first prize. You kept your own Bull then?
Peggy: Yes, until, you know, until AI, what they called AI come in. Eventually, like other farms when …
Wendy Artificial insemination
Peggy: …you’ve got the correct words, yes, but it was always referred to as AI.
Lisa: When did that come in then, what sort of time did they start doing the insemination?
Peggy: Well, it varied on different farms, you know the farmer himself.
30 minutes 8 seconds
Wendy Do you remember what year roughly, or years? ‘60’s, ‘70’s?
Peggy: Be the ‘50’s I should imagine.
Wendy You reckon it was about the ‘50’s.
Peggy: Well, where I was involved, yeah. Because you didn’t keep the William then.
Wendy Where did he live on the farm, I can’t remember?
Peggy: Bill the Bull?
Wendy Yeah, was it up the top?
Peggy: No, he would have been … one of those sheds there.
Wendy Yeah, I’m sure it was there ‘cos that’s where the calves were wasn’t it?
Peggy: That’s right, yeah. He was round the back.
Lisa: Was he kept separate then to the cows until you wanted them to …
Wendy He had his own little shed didn’t he?
Peggy: He was in his own shed and he wasn’t allowed to be with the females until we wanted them to breed at the right time because you didn’t … well they wouldn’t come on heat, as you like to call it, straight away but as soon as they were ready to go in calf you used William as the Bull. Now, it‘s just AI or what the call AI, artificial now.
Lisa: How long is a cow pregnant for?
Peggy: Nine months I think it would work out, yes.
Lisa: Same as a human then.
Peggy: Yes, you can’t have them one year and … well we tried to calve then in the Autumn. You calve the cow in the September, you get ‘em in calf to come again in September but it didn’t always work, that’s it, you just did your best all the time.
Lisa: And how long would they produce milk for before they need to calve again?
Peggy: They’d have six weeks rest, or two months whoever the case may be, have a rest, and then calve again, do another session round. When we kept Guernsey’s, we only kept the females but the black and white, we kept the males for beef then.
Lisa: [looking at another photo] Is this the same Show?
Peggy: Yeah, I’m trying to think where that one was taken.
Wendy There’s some with Uncle John in as well isn’t there?
Peggy: He’s got William hasn’t he? Well both of us holding him. You had to be careful what … when you had the William.
Lisa: You’ve got a sort of white overall on there.
Peggy: Oh yeah, we had white overalls … well most of the farmers did. We all wore white overalls.
Lisa: That was what you had to wear to show. Yes, he’s got his rosette there on his head. What sort of time do you think this was Peggy: ? What year?
Peggy: Oh dear.
Lisa: How old do you reckon your mum was there Wendy?
Wendy I reckon about 20’s.
Peggy: I don’t expect I was married.
Lisa: Was that about the 1950’s then?
Wendy Yeah, that would be 1950’s. Very bad hair day though there mother.
Peggy: It shows you I had a mop.
Wendy You still have.
Lisa: And do you recognise anyone else in these photos? Are they people that you knew?
Peggy: My brother right next to me, that’s Arthur Moody I think there, I don’t know who those were.
Lisa: Anything that’s at Blackwater, that particular show?
Peggy: Yeah, it was there.
Lisa: Where did it move to then?
Peggy: It was up North, it’s run up North now, up there.
35 minutes 3 seconds
Lisa: Oh look, you’ve got three or four cups there.
Peggy: Yeah, the winner of the Guernsey in calf. I think I ended up with winning, taking the female Championship there. I was something you was proud of if you did a whole Championship of a Show, you felt you were a winner there. It took some doing though.
Lisa: Did you enjoy taking part then?
Peggy: Oh yeah I done it for several years. I started off … I used to go to the Young Farmers Club and that was where it kicked off with me. Young Farmers were showing calves and it kicked off there. I don’t think there’s a Young Farmers Club now so …
Lisa: Was that sort of category or a class in its own then, the Young Farmers …
Peggy: Yeah because there was Shanklin, Ryde, Freshwater and Newport Young Farmers Clubs at the time.
Lisa: There were different Clubs for different areas on the Island?
Peggy: Oh yeah, but when we had our Dinner Dances, we’d all join up together then but it was the distance and transport and all that kept that going. It’s all so different now with transport and you can go from A to B.
Lisa: Was this one at Blackwater Peggy: do you think?
Peggy: ‘Cos it’s held at Northwood now, isn’t it?
Peggy: Yeah, that ain’t Northwood. It’s got to be Blackwater.
Lisa: This is a Young Farmers certificate. The London Dairy Show. Can you tell me about that?
Peggy: Oh, it was a team from different Young Farmers Clubs throughout the country and obviously I went to the National Dairy judging Competition. They bring on young people to be Judges, if you like to put it like that, and that was what I was doing, pertaining the standard set by the Judges.
Lisa: So you had to the judging then?
Peggy: Yes, pertaining the standard set by the Judges. It was a complicated turn out. You had to judge the cattle and if you agreed with the Judges well of course you had a chance of winning.
Lisa: So how would you judge the cow? What would it be based on?
Peggy: Well your first impression [loud background noise] as they were looking at you, you know how alert it was. With the milking cow, straight back, well there were several things you’d look at, I don’t know how to explain it to you. The body, the udder, four even teats, tail length and all that comes into it.
[talking to other people in the room]
Lisa: So what are these? Is that you?
Peggy: That’s me with some sheep. I don’t know whose sheep it is.
Lisa: I was going to say ‘cos I didn’t think you had sheep.
Peggy: No, I don’t know how that come about. No I can’t answer that completely.
Lisa: And is this the herd? I can’t even see what they are. They’re cows (laughs).
Wendy I hope they are.
Lisa: From upside down …
Peggy: That’s when it was changed over from the brown ones to the black ones.
Lisa: Oh, there was a time when you moved then from the Guernsey … what breed are these then?
Peggy: Friesians. I was much easier to get the quality milk or what was wanted within that breed. That was … you had a lot more butter fat and if you didn’t get to the standard of the butter fat that was needed with the Guernsey, you very soon get less money and I don’t know whether many … about one or two Guernsey and Jersey’s on the Island now what with registration and there isn’t the number of Friesian herds on the Island now. They’re bigger but not the number now. Thats when my Uncle and Aunt sold out wasn’t it, that one.
40 minutes 19 seconds
Wendy Is there any more memories in these pictures mum?
Lisa: That’s a lovely view that one, isn’t it?
Peggy: That’s just down the road from the farm on the left, there’s that little lane goes into it.
Wendy That’s right. Yeah.
Lisa: The cows are going on a road trip.
Peggy: Yeah, that how we used to do it then.
Wendy What did you call that bit? Didn’t that have a name, that bit down the road?
Peggy: I’m trying to think where … well I expect we did. We had our own name for it at the time.
Wendy I used to help you do that didn’t I?
Lisa: So you’re moving then from one place to another?
Wendy We moved from Duke’s down … ‘cos that was literally, that was over there was about five minutes up the road so we’d walk them up the road …
Peggy: Milking time … and back down again when they were finished with.
Wendy Caused havoc didn’t we?
Lisa: Did you ever have a wanderer or one that went into a front garden?
Wendy Oh yes, there was always an escapee. That’s where the sheep dog came in wasn’t it mum?
Lisa: Did you always have dogs, or a dog?
Lisa: They’d help to keep the cows in the right place.
Peggy: Knew when to round them up and when to get them. There’s the Guernsey’s.
Wendy I don’t know what’s happening in that one.
Peggy: Cutting the hedgerow.
Wendy Is that just cutting hedges?
Peggy: Uncle John’s there and I don’t know who else.
Wendy Where do you think that was taken? I’ve got a feeling …
Peggy: Over the Shore, Shorefields
Wendy So that’s overlooking Thorness, is it?
Peggy: There’s all the boats there look, and there’s Thorness Bay there, yeah. Now they’re doing milk and cows at all there.
Lisa: Did you keep your cows in in the Winter?
Peggy: Yes. But even now with what cattle they’ve got they’ll keep then in in the wintertime, because if it gets too wet, they tread the fields and leave potholes everywhere and that’s what you don’t want. If it’s too wet, you keep ‘em in.
Lisa: Did you ever have to have the Vet out for problems?
Peggy: Oh yeah, you had your share of that. You did, if they left injections for them on a daily basis you’d do all that but you had to get all your veterinary stuff through the Vet so it’s still the same now because it’s like a medicine for human beings isn’t it? You just don’t get it willy-nilly. You’ve got to go the Doctor’s first and get it so it’s the same sort of thing for the animals.
Wendy It wasn’t cheap though was it?
Lisa: Did they have to have a test for TB?
Peggy: Oh yes. If you had TB, that wasn’t good because they keep testing you until you were cleared of it, but touch wood, we never had that problem. But some herds was wiped out with it at the time. [sound of police or ambulance siren] Somebody is in a hurry. What’s the main road here then, I’ve forgotten?
Wendy Victoria Avenue.
Lisa: Well that’s you with one of your pigs.
Peggy: A tiddler, yeah (laughs)
Lisa: Is that a piglet?
Peggy: He’s a biggish piglet, he’s weaned off.
Wendy I’m wondering if it’s the same one you’ve got in that picture.
Peggy: Yes, would be.
Lisa: What did the pigs eat?
Peggy: Not me!
Wendy A bit chewy!
Peggy: No they had special bought in food, animal food bought in that was … who did we deal with then? P&G wasn’t it? Something and Grey. P and G, G was Grey …
Wendy Oh I see what you mean now, I was like what?
Peggy: Oh I can’t think of the P now.
Wendy It was … was it Paul?
Peggy: Could be but I’m not certain of it now.
Wendy It was P&G definitely for food.
Lisa: These were suppliers of animal feed were they?
Peggy: Oh there was two or three suppliers. Scats, [inaudible]…
Wendy And it was John Peck you used to deal with, wasn’t it?
Peggy: That’s right. That’s P&G, yeah. He was the P (laughs)
Lisa: Peck and Grey.
Wendy There we go, sorted. Yeah, John Peck and who was the Vet? I know it was along Carisbrooke Road …
45 minutes 9 seconds
Peggy: It still is as far as I know.
Wendy It is but I think it’s obviously changed a little bit. Can’t think what the names were.
Wendy Not far from Carisbrooke Castle is it? I’d have to get back to you on that one.
Peggy: Well it was Peck and Grey wasn’t it?
Wendy That’s the feed ones, yeah.
Lisa: Peggy: , when you were growing up, what was the farmhouse like? Did it have gas and electricity?
Peggy: Gas. But as soon as the electric come around, in went electric then because, well, I say we felt better. We were happier with electric plus the electric was put all over the farm as well. That’s why we went all electric. Go for a special quote for it or anything.
Lisa: I expect that made it easier for lighting and that kind of thing?
Peggy: Oh yeah.
Lisa: It must have been dark in the Winter?
Wendy You’re milking the cows at six o’clock.
Peggy: We had lanterns, if you know what I mean. Oh we carried the lights around with us, if you know what I mean. Yes, it’s all changed.
Lisa: And was there running water, and hot water as well in the farmhouse?
Peggy: As soon as we had electric, yes. Plus when we were out on the farm, in the Dairy we had hot water, washed up and all that sort of thing. It modernised it at the time so …
Wendy I remember washing the bottles, the glass bottles for the milk round.
Peggy: We had a milk round at the time which they haven’t got, not now.
Lisa: So you did your own milk round?
Peggy: Yes, just the local people, just down the road from the farm, you know?
Wendy It was just the immediate area wasn’t it?
Lisa: And was it all bottled up into pints?
Wendy With milk that was.
Peggy: And when you stood it for a time, you could actually see the cream …
Wendy It was amazing.
Lisa: Did you treat the milk yourself? Did it go through a … is it a heating system?
Wendy It was unpasteurised wasn’t it?
Peggy: Yeah, it wasn’t pasteurised or anything like that. It was just filtered … when it arrived in the Dairy it was filtered for any specks of dirt or anything like that. It was like a cotton wool, well similar to cotton wool pad on top of the churns and that’s where it went into the churns then but you had to keep it on all the churns filling up and then it was collected by the Creameries for the lorries the next day. It’s all changed now though. It automatically gets picked up from the farms on to the Mainland, loose milk and then that’s it, it’s gone.
Lisa: And did you make butter or cream or …
Peggy: My family made butter but not to sell or anything, we made our own butter.
Wendy Yeah, I remember those pint bottles when you used to have the creamy bit at the top.
Peggy: That’s right, yeah.
Wendy And then you’d pick strawberries from the garden, oh!
Lisa: Did you have a bottling machine?
Peggy: No, bottled it ourselves. Didn’t take long what we did.
Wendy And green lids on the top with HP & J Flux.
Peggy: That’s right. That was Channel Island milk, green.
Wendy It certainly was good stuff.
Lisa: And how did you deliver it? Did you have truck?
Wendy Well you tool … I remember the green van and you used to put it in crates, didn’t you, and just go round …
Peggy: Just the local people round.
Wendy … and a carrier to put the bottles in.
Peggy: Yes, it’s all changed now unfortunately, but there that’s life isn’t it?
Wendy I wonder how much you used to charge per pint.
Peggy: Oh God!
Wendy It would have been a bargain that’s for sure.
Peggy: Now it would, yeah (laughs).
Wendy Oh I don’t know, it’s not a bad price now really.
Peggy: Considering the amount of work and worry you get producing that kind of milk, you know it’s a bit cheap.
Wendy It’s not a walk in the park is it?
Lisa: What do think’s changed most Peggy: in your lifetime in farming?
Peggy: Well, it changed over the years. Changed most?
Wendy Paperwork, most definitely.
Peggy: Yes, that’s typical with everybody’s business isn’t it? Um, changed most … we went from once a day to every other day pickup and then the milk was picked up and took straight to the Mainland. That’s when the Creameries disappeared. Well I suppose …
50 minutes 17 seconds
Wendy Markets? The Markets have changed quite a bit.
Peggy: Well there’s no Market on the Island now is there? Who is where the Market used to be? Is it Sainsbury’s?
Wendy Morrison’s. The Market yeah.
Peggy: Yeah, Morrison’s. It was one of the big Company’s any rate. Bought the land, bought the area and converted it all, that’s it.
Lisa: So you’ve seen lots of changes in your lifetime, over the years?
Peggy: Well like everybody else. You see changes on the way don’t you, it don’t stop the same all the time does it?
Lisa: Do you think the Island has changed?
Peggy: Well I should imagine so, yeah must do because when show cattle, was it nine acres it was called? It’s just a small area …
Lisa: In Newport?
Peggy: In Newport, yeah, and then they shifted up to Northwood.
Wendy Are you on about the Agri Show Ground?
Peggy: Yeah, on the left hand side going into Newport.
Wendy Yes that’s all I remember, a day off school to go to the Agri Show. I used to love it (laughs).
Peggy: Well like every business I suppose it changes over the years and gets bigger or something or other and that’s it.
Lisa: What did you enjoy most about farming?
Peggy: I suppose living with the animals, working with the animals, rearing baby calves and things like that. I enjoyed most of it any rate. I didn’t enjoy getting up at night and checking on a cow that’s just calved in case she had milk fever and all that sort of thing, or to check out to see if she’d calved because you never knew when the actual time was going to happen. You knew it was underway for her to have a calf, or the birth signs was there, but you couldn’t stay up all night waiting for the birth, you know? I used to try and wake up at a particular time and that was it.
Wendy Back in a minute.
Peggy: You only back in a minute?
Wendy Yeah, maybe five.
Lisa: Well thank you for letting me look at all these lovely photos.
Peggy: Well it’s happy memories for me now. You know what with cows up the road, well, I don’t know whether it would be allowed now or not, because you used to have to clear the road up afterwards if anybody was naughty. The buildings haven’t changed, all that not’s changed. That was when we were changing the breed for milking purposes.
Lisa: Carting some bales there.
Peggy: Yeah, they were ones that you’d handle yourself. Well that was done purposefully ‘cos you hadn’t handled them when you were cut them and feed other animals, you had to handle them so that was done for that reason.
Lisa: They have those great big round bales now, don’t they?
Peggy: Yeah, but it’s all done by machinery then, lifting bales and they’ve got special rings with the round bales to go in for animals to eat them. Yes, it’s all black and white. I don’t think they’ve got the milk herd down there now.
Lisa: So your nephews have Dukes Farm now?
Peggy: Yeah. So just what they’re actually doing to make their money to live on I don’t know.
Lisa: What’s this here Peggy: ?
Peggy: That looks like big bales doesn’t it but …oh, that’s a silage area, I see that side up there and you put the silage, that’s grass, straight into a pit and made into silage, shall we put it like that. That’s what that is it was used in the Winter. And that’s the road all up through, takes you right to Shorefield’s where there is summer chalets. People own and have their holidays there and weekends and that sort of thing. They still do that.
55 minutes 8 seconds
Lisa: It’s a nice location with a good view isn’t it?
Peggy: Oh, people … some say it’s got the Bay to go swimming in and take their boats out and all that sort of thing, you know, that’s what they do with that and it’s always been owned privately by somebody. But there, that’s the changes isn’t it?
Lisa: It certainly is. Did you know and have much to do with other farmers locally?
Peggy: Oh yeah you hear your neighbours and sometimes they help you out and you help them out for some reason or another, you know.
Lisa: And I suppose you knew other people through the Young Farmers Club as well when you were younger?
Peggy: Oh yeah, younger and they grew up and went farming the same as I did. You still kept in touch and Young Farmers always had their Annual Dinner every year …
Lisa: Where was that held?
Peggy: It was at Weeks’s at the time with us but that’s where Halifax Building Society is now.
Lisa: I know, yeah.
Peggy: Yeah, that’s where we had our … used to be about 100 come every time.
Lisa: Did you enjoy dancing?
Peggy: Oh yeah, ‘cos I used to do dancing at the weekends as well. We’d meet in Newport when we was going and go to Sandown together.
Lisa: What was your favourite dance?
Peggy: Quickstep. Oh yeah, I liked the quickstep and I didn’t mind the waltz. That was the two I did, you know.
Lisa: Did your husband dance?
Peggy: I met him through my girlfriend and she met her husband, I don’t know how but, she met him and that’s how we met … we were friends as well so …many, many years ago now.
Lisa: Was Weeke’s where they had a Tea Shop?
Peggy: That’s where our Reception, yeah so yes, they did have a Tea Shop, must have done there yeah, and it’s Halifax the Building Society now isn’t it?
Lisa: Yeah, and that’s where the Market was before it was a Morrison’s, in the very old days.
Peggy: The first Market I remember was in The Square.
Lisa: Yeah, I’ve got a photo of that I think. That’s probably before your time when you were very young, it was in The Square.
Peggy: I have shown cattle.
Lisa: There look, that’s in The Square isn’t it?
Peggy: It looks very much like it. There’s a Church there … there’s a Square …
Lisa: And you should be able to see Weeke’s in the background.
Peggy: No, this is The Square …
Lisa: St Thomas’s Square is it?
Peggy: Where the Church is. There’s a big Church there.
Lisa: Yeah, that’s St Thomas’s Square isn’t it? What’s this Square called then?
Peggy: Well this is the one isn’t it? There’s the big Church there.
Lisa: Look this is a very old milking photo.
Peggy: Well I don’t know what that photo is.
Lisa: That’s how they used to deliver the milk before it was in bottles, I think. It was in the churns.
Peggy: Probably, yeah. We had a milk round for a time.
Lisa: And that’s hand milking like how you used to do it.
Peggy: Oh yeah, I done me time at that. Neither of them look very happy there (laughs).
Lisa: How long would it take to milk the cow by hand?
Peggy: Depends how much milk they were giving at the time. 10 minutes was a lot of milk. I remember we got up to 40 cows at a time.
Lisa: And how much quicker was it when you did it by machine?
Peggy: Well you halved the time directly straight away. You had to wash them and prepare then and put the machine on, let the machine do the work. Then you went back and checked them before you took the machine teat caps off and check it all there ‘cos sometimes, one quar…, what they called the quarters would knock out faster than the other or one quarter would hold more milk that the others. You’d get the unevenness there.
Lisa: And about how much milk would you get per milking from one cow?
Peggy: Depending on the breed. And depending when they calved, freshly calved cows would be … a good one would be three to four gallons in the morning and two in the afternoon. Depends on the time of milking. If you milked early in the morning and then a little bit later in the afternoon, you evened the part of it out, but it depended on the farmer and his time and all that sort of thing you know. Everybody had their own ways and feelings about it all. But I learnt to hand milk, so I was in the Competitions for hand milking.
Lisa: Did you know all your cows individually?
Peggy: Oh yes, they all had names.
Lisa: Do you remember any of their names? We talked about Billy the Bull.
Peggy: Molly, Dolly, oh dear, Millie, Damsel another one. Uncle and Aunt when they sold out. Oh yeah, they all had names. Ribbon, Dolly, Sally.
Lisa: I know that cattle today, they have a tag don’t they?
Peggy: Oh all cattle, they’ve got to be tested every year for … that’s all done for TB reasons and health reasons. And when they do these tests, whenever they do them, they always look in the ear for the tag and record everything when it’s done. It’s all so different now which is fair enough because it’s for health reasons and selling the milk and so forth. Yep, like everything else, life changes on the way.
62 minutes 53 seconds
Transcribed September 2017 by Chris Litton