Talk given to the History Group on 6-8-2012.
(See also Brentford Grange Sale Documents 1931)
My father moved to Brentford grange in 1926 when I was a few months old and he sold up in 1931 - which covered five years when there was a very serious recession in farming.
The inventory [ on the web site] is the year after he started up, and the valuation was in 1927 and totalled £2000. When he sold up it was worth £1000. That was a typical picture. The inventory lists the 17 cows he took over after a year.
My father started farming in Essex. A brother was farming near Maldon.
After Brentford Grange my father was disillusioned. His family had a sandpit near Denham, so he joined them.
He then returned to farming with his brother's farm at Uxbridge and he stayed there. There was very little money for the five of us.
I remember lovely black cherries at BG – large ones in the cherry orchard. The house was three storeys. We children had an empty room on the ground floor to play in – you could ride bicycles round it.
The radio had 'His Master's Voice' on it.
There was a big fig tree on the back of the house; and there was an area for pigs there – between there and the cottage.
My mother felt sorry that anyone had to live in a cottage like that, as it was a tied cottage. Mr Skerry lived in Keeper's Cottage.
We knew Mr and Mrs Peckham – he was butler at Coleshill House – and they lived in the white cottage opposite.
For a while we also farmed the farm where the Puseys used to live – Rushymead Cottage.
My sisters went to Coleshill School. They walked across the fields to school. If you got wet, you were wet all day and they didn't have wellies as they were not thought about for ordinary children.
My maiden name was Saunders. There was another family of Saunders living in Rushymead Cottage.
When we moved back to the area we picked up with Doug Pusey. At the time we farmed Rushymead, it was part of the Hall Barn Estate. My brother was born at BG.
The Grieves ran The Magpies Pub. My father had Cyril Grieve and his wife to run a farm for him at Uxbridge. Their son married a Land Girl and they live at Prestwood.
The Kirbys of Chalfont St Giles had the brick kiln. They were a family of men and boys.
We were friends with Hazel and Phil Pearce and their daughter Rosalind who farmed at Stocking's Farm.
Brentford Grange was the typical Chilterns mixed farm. It was not quite 300 acres. The know-how has now gone. The knowledge my family grew up with! Our two old stockmen lived in one of the old cottages. The other farm man got into the job from being a groom and of course my father had 5 or 6 horses.
Some of the farm equipment that he brought here from Essex was made in Maldon. My grandfathers farm wagon is in Chelmsford Museum. My grandfather was brought up in Scotland and he was a cattle dealer in Stirling. The cattle would come down to Stirling from the Islands and they were often driven to London on foot.
My husband Bert grew up in Uxbridge and the farm was on the canal. His grandmother Kate (nee Clayton) was from a barge family who did coal on the canal from London. She married him. She was always very interested in her china and I've still got some of her collection here. I saw that one of the barges in the Queen's Jubilee (2012) River Pageant had the name Clayton on it.
When Bert and I married 68 years ago, my father had gone into retail dairying in opposition to Bert's family – and in the same locality. My father decided on Guernsey cattle and I started my War Work delivering milk. I had a horse and cart. I was 17. We had horses up until the War.
Qu. When you were at BG, did you have any deliveries come to you?
My mother never appeared to go shopping. She didn't walk very well, so father brought in the meat and the vegetables were always grown.
There's a picture of BG in the Coleshill History book – the rear view. The daughter of the Peckhams married one of the Stubbings family.
In Coleshill the Chapel and the Church didn't mix socially.
Qu. Re the Davidson Murder.
Bert and Phil were both investigated by the police after tyhe murder. They both used that area and borrowed each others implements and used the back road between Stockings Farm and Bottom Farm. I used to do a lot of walking on my own until that happened. Then I had a Pyrenean Mountain dog. It all made us feel a bit unsafe.
I went to the sale of Stockings farm before Phil and Hazel moved in and there was a builder in Coleshill who I remember buying a wardrobe in the sale. He wanted it and I let him have it – Maurice Weller. Phil and Hazel Pearce, Graham and Dumpy Swerling and Bert and I had some good times together.