Meopham in old picture postcards

Meopham in old picture postcards

:   J. Carley
:   Kent
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3392-0
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Meopham in old picture postcards'

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39. At least six forges are known to have been operated in Meopham at different times. This one stood on the east side of Meopham Green, and was at the time of this picture (about 1912) operated by the Dalton family. The bungalow behind the workshop is still there, and bears the name 'The Old Forge'. The smithy and the workshop have gone. The traditional chestnut tree was fairly young then, but it is still growing in 1986. A clutter of agricultural machinery can be seen in front of the workshop. Wheel-wrighting was an essential part of the smith's business, and he had the tyring stone under the tree (where it still can be found).

40. With the coming of the internal combustion engine around the turn of the century the village blacksmith had to learn new skills, and adapt to the new mode of transport. This picture, taken about 1910, shows this change in process at Meopham Green forge. On picture 39 we see horses being shod, but here the late Mr. P. Dalton, whose father was the blacksmith, has produced a motor vehicle suitable for farm and general country use. It was adapted from an early van chassis. Transmission was by chain drive. The front wheels have pneumatic tyres, but the rear ones are solid. The hand brake is external, and there are brackets for acetylene lamps, although these would not normaily be needed for farm work. It is thought that the vehicle would have been available for local farmers to hire on a daily or weekly basis.

41. Morris dancing is a very oldEnglish pastime, and in the past most important villages had their own team. It is defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as a grotesque dance performed by persons in fancy costume, usually representing characters from the Robin Hood legend. Records go back as far as 1458, but in recent years the custom has largely disappeared. The Meopham Morris Men are here seen in their traditional costumes, with beIls on their legs. Unlike some surviving teams, they had a youth section, and this no doubt helped to keep the team going. The Jester can be seen in his distinctive dress. The team regularly performed at the village fete, and also outside the Cricketers. This picture was taken in a field near Meopham Green. Regrettably this village activity did not survive the Second World War.

42. This 'action' picture shows the Meopham Morris team (with lady members they could certainly not be referred to as the Morris Men) performing in the centre of Meopham Green. The length of the Iadies' hair suggests a date pre-1914, a time supported by their dresses. In the background can be seen the massive barn of Green Farm, with its gabled doorway and well-thatched roof. This attractive building was a victim of bombing during the Second World War, and the site is now occupied by a pair of modern houses. The farm entrance was on the left, near the more modern barns, which were also demolished when the houses were built.

43. This picture, taken at a village fete prior to 1914, shows the school children performingtheir maypole dance, an intricate performance. The decorated strings were gradually wound round the pole in correct sequence. The dancers than had to reverse the direction of dance, and unwind them in exactly the same order. One wrong step could, and probably would, result in chaos. In this activity the children were coached and encouraged by Mr. Percy Windo, the schoolmaster at Meopham school for 32 years. Practices were held in the grounds ofPitfield House, but the great day was the Annual Fair held on the green, usually on or about 11th July, one of the days of the old Chartered Fair. Parents and other villagers also entered into the spirit of the occasion and put on oldfashioned costumes.

44. Green Farm Cottages stand on the east side of Meopham Green, and were built to provide accommodation for the farm workers on the adjacent farm. This shows them some time before 1914, when they stood alone along that part of the green. The cottages have now been painted, but otherwise have altered Iittle. The large tree to their right has gone, and modern houses now stand there. To the right of the picture is Mr. W. TickIe, the farmer at Lomer Farm, with his horse-drawn milk float. Carts like this were the usual means of delivering milk in both town and country. His assistant stands at the cottage gate with a smal! churn. There was no bottling th en - milk was measured and poured straight into whatever receptacle was handy. With the growth of motor traffic the parish council has had to put posts round the green to proteet it, but Mr. Tickle was able to drive right up to the gates.

45. This picture shows the old Pitfield farm house, built in 1801 l the same year as the windmill), and later called Pitfield Cottage. It stood at the south-east corner of PitfieJd Green. It was a fairly substantial building, under a slate roof, and the owners enjoyed good views- from the front rooms across the green, and from the back across Happy Valley to David Street and Harvel. Ta the left is the very substantial barn of traditional construction. The farm extended to about 60 acres. On the death ofthe owner, Dr. Baber, in 1894, the farm was sold off in parcels. The farmhouse and the barn were pulled down in 1897, and Pitfield House (see picture 46) was built on the site ofthe latter. The site of the farm remained as garden for many years, but has now been built on. During the demolition of the house a pike-head with a 9-inch blade was discovered, and in the kitchen garden (which had formerly been part of the village green) a silver graat of Henry VIII, a silver penny of Henry III and two more recent copper coins were unearthed.

Pitfield Cottage,

46. This picture described as Pitfield Cottage is in fact of Pitfield House, the mansion built on the site of the former barn of Pitfield Farm (see picture 45). It was named after Pitfield Green, so called from the loam pits which had been dug there over the centuries. There is indeed a reference in a document of 1306 to 'Pettesfield'. The house was constructed in 1897, and we see the attractive wrought iron gates protecting its entrance. Behind them is a belt of trees, one of which is the Mulberry tree traditionally said to have been planted there by the famous gardener, John Tradescant. The tree is still there, although now somewhat decrepit. The road leading off to the left is the old road to Ryarsh, gated at that point. This was one of several roads that the parish was able to get removed from its maintenance responsibility in 1871.

47. This picture shows the south-east corner of Meopham Green in the closing years of the 19th century, long before Meopham Cricket Club has erected their first pavillion. On the right are numbers 1 to 3 Wellington Cottages, and to their left is Pitfield Lodge, now extended. Beyond that property is a continuous flint wall, which has now been piereed for access to modern houses, and which has been lowered. The land behind this wall was formerly part of the village green. On that part of the green two cottages had been built by the parish authorities for the accommodation of some of the poor. When that need had ceased the cottages and the part of the green on which they stood were acquired by the owner of Pitfield Farm as an extension to his garden. Pitfield Farm, which was demolished in 1897, can be seen on the far left. Sheep no longer graze on the green, and the row of young trees has now matured.

Steels Lane, Meopham

48. Leading from the south-east corner of Meopham Green is the old road to Ryarsh. This view was taken a littie further along the road, and looks across Happy Valley to the woods on the far-side, On the skyline can be seen the various buildings of David Street, a hamiet located between Meopham Church and Harvel. Some of these buildings have now been demolished, and the intervening woods have grown up to mask the rest. The name 'Steeles Lane' is derived from the farm further along the lane, at one time occupied by Thomas Steele. The correct name ofthe farm was Hopwood Farm, but the occupier's name found more favour. The road used to be repaired by the parish, but in 1871 they secured an order relieving them of this responsibility.

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