Friday, 3 August 2018

The story of one family in Chorlton ........... part 4 working at Brook Farm in the summer of 1927

It is easy to forget that just two generations ago we still had a number of independent dairies here in Chorlton and stories of being sent for milk at the farmer’s door is only now passing out of living memory.

Mr McLoughlin outside Brook Farm, 1927
The Bailey’s down at Park Brow Farm, Mr and Mrs Riley on Beech Road in the 1960s and Mrs Lomax at Hough End Hall two decades earlier were part of a local industry which stretched back into our rural past.

By the 20th century the dairies had lost most of their land but go back fifty or so years and most of them were part of bigger operations centered on cereals and market gardens.

And that brings me to Brook Farm which in the 1870s had been the home of the Holland family who farmed 54 acres and employed three men.

It stood on the north side of what is now Brookburn Road opposite the school and dates  from at least the late 18th century.

Brook Farm circa 1900
Back in 1847 the radical journalist Alexander Somerville stopped at Brook Farm and reported his conversation with Lydia Brown the tenant farmer who complained about the ash trees which grew around the fields  “which are not only objectionable as all other kinds are in and around cultivated fields but positively poisonous to other vegetation, and ran through the ground causing much waste of land, waste of fertility, and doing no good whatever.  Squire Lloyd is the landlord.  

Mrs Brown a widow, is the tenant.  She keeps the farm in excellent order so far as the landlord’s restrictions will allow.  But neither herself nor her workmen must ‘crop or lop top’ a single branch from the deleterious ash trees."

It was my old friend Lawrence who came across the orginal newspaper story and set me off researching the farm and more recently I have Peter McLoughlin to thank for offering up a wonderful collection of photographs of his father who worked at the dairy during the 1920s.

The Farm and dairy in 1927
Most of the pictures show Mr McLoughlin at work delivering milk and that makes them unique, because so far there are very few pictures of people at work here in the township and those we have tend to be by professional photographers who included workmen more by accident than design.

Now I can say that because they do not tend to be the subject of the photograph, rarely are caught up close and are never referred to.
But Peter’s pictures are different and they also record those working places which were unlikely to sell as postcards.

So I return to this one which includes part of the farm and dairy in 1927 and in the fullness of time will return with another showing the stables opposite the farm which is now part of Brookburn School.

Pictures; Mr Jim McLoughlin outside Brook Dairy in 1927, courtesy of Peter  McLoughlin  and the farm house circa 1900 from the Lloyd Collection

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