This year’s summer excursion took the Society over Offa’s Dyke to Acton Scott near Church Stretton in Shropshire. Some twenty seven members and friends of the Society made the trip and the weather was luckily very favourable since most of what the historic working farm at Acton Scott has to offer is out of doors.
The scholroom ( constructed 1860s)
Home Farm ( built in 1730s)
Acton Scott, or “Victorian Farm” is best known as the subject of a BBC2 series filmed for around twelve months in 2007. It was evident immediately that this type of series ( including our own Coal House series) involves a great deal of ingenuity on behalf of the film crew since the various scenes were shot at a variety of locations both on the Historic Working farm ( Home Farm) and the wider Acton Scott estate. Activities that the film crew took included cheese and butter making, timber sawing, threshing in the rick yard, the work of the wheelwright, bodging, haymaking, brick manufacture, stock husbandry and general kitchen activities. The television crew returned in 2009 to film a Christmas special which was aired in the December of that year. Unfortunately, the number of activities that were on display during our visit were rather limited since most of the craftsmen are employed by Shropshire County Council and did not work weekends ( see video clips at bottom of post).
A brick built hay barn adjoining the Bailiff's Cottage
The visit began with a guided tour of the estate and it was explained that Home Farm was situated on higher ground and therefore it was used to experiment with the growing of crops under the assumption that if they grew there then they would be suitable for introduction on the rest of the estate. The farmhouse itself was out of bounds to visitors as was the walled garden since they remained within the private part of the estate. However a visit to the Bailiff’s cottage and schoolroom (which doubled as the café and was very popular with our group) gave an idea of the relative harshness of life during Victorian times. The rooms of the bailiff’s cottage also contained cookery and butter making demonstrations. The rest of the visit involved a very pleasant and leisurely stroll around the farm and its attractions.
The Farrier's area
On the way home the group stopped at a flag festooned Leominster. However, many of the shops appeared to have closed early since apparently there was a certain football match happening that evening in South Africa.
The History Society will now take a short break until September 13th when the AGM will take place . However articles will continue to appear on our blog and lets all hope for a glorious summer.