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Oral History Recording of Mrs. Brown (6th November 1975)


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Transcription of an interview with Mrs. Brown recorded on the 6th November 1975.

Mrs. Brown was born at Fenwick Steads, near Longframlington, in 1876. Her father was employed as a groom to farmers, and she like the rest of her family worked on the land. During the full interview she recalls her life, from the early 1880's, and talks generally about living and working conditions for farm workers in the pre-First World War years.

During this extract she recalls hiring day, and the movement of farm workers on the flitting day.


Did you go to the Alnwick hirings?

Alnwick yes.

And that was in the Market Place?


And did the shepherds stand in one place and the hinds in another place?

Oh no you were all just all together, and of course they took you away into the workhouse and they would ask you about things and if you were the right one they took you away and of course they all had a glass.

And when you moved from one farm to another, how did you move by, did you have a cart?

Yes, I've seen us have five carts.

And you travelled in the cart with your belongings?

Everything in the cart that belonged to you, the cats and dogs and birds, it would be a grand day the hiring day.

And how would you, whose cart would that be then the farmers?

Well you don't often see them now, but oh.

Wouldn't that be rather uncomfortable?

No it was filled with straw and you were made comfotable and it was a nice day out.


This tape recording comes from the large collection of oral history recordings held by the Northumberland Archive Service. Interviews were conducted by Record Office staff from the early 1970's right through until the mid 1980's. The purpose of the recordings was to capture the essence of life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Many different subjects were covered, including coalmining, farming, fishing, domestic life, World Wars and entertainment. Over 350 recordings have been collected comprising approximately 700 hours of recollections.