Farnham in the 1850s

haywainOn Monday I put up a post about the permaculture meeting held last week.

In it, Andy Goldring mentioned a book which described life in Farnham in the 1850s.

I have since been able to find the reference. Here it is. It makes for almost idyllic reading. No traffic jams on the bypass. No commuting. No…

“It is really surprising how few were the materials, or even the finished goods, imported at that time [the 1850s]. Clothing stuffs and metals were the chief of them. Of course the grocers (not “provision merchants” then) did their small trade in sugar and coffee, and tea and spices; there was a tinware shop, an ironmonger’s, a wine-merchant’s; and all these were necessarily supplied from outside. But, on the other hand, no foreign meat or flour, or hay or straw or timber, found their way into the town, and comparatively few manufactured products from other parts of England.

Carpenters still used the oak and ash and elm of the neighbourhood, sawn out for them by the local sawyers: the wheelwright, because iron was costly, mounted his cartwheels on huge axles fashioned by himself out of the hardest beech; the smith, shoeing horses or putting tyres on wheels, first made the necessary nails for himself, hammering them out on his own anvil.

So, too, with many other things. Boots, brushes, earthenware, butter and lard, candles, bricks – they were all of local make; cheese was brought back from Weyhill Fair in the waggons which had carried down the hops; in short, to an extent now hard to realise, the town was independent of commerce as we know it now, and looked to the farms and the forests and the claypits and the coppices of the neighbourhood for its supplies. A leisurely yet steady traffic in rural produce therefore passed along its streets, because it was the life-centre, the heart, of its own countryside.”

To find it go to this page http://www.feasta.org/documents/shortcircuit/index.html?sc2/c2.html then click ‘3’ in the top right corner and then search for ‘Farnham’.

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