Local History Society

 Local History Recording Scheme: Ref. A6-8



This is the eighth article for Arborfield in the Berkshire Local History Recording Scheme, reference A6-8:

'Changes at Newland Farm, Arborfield'

Mr. H. G. Lee took over Newland Farm in 1940 from Mr Bowyer who had farmed there for about 30 years. So that in addition to any possible effect of the war the effect of a considerable change in management had to be considered.

To begin with stock. Mr Bowyer had two horse teams; Mr Lee brought from his previous farm at Henley six horses and one tractor: he now (1953) has one horse and two tractors.

Mr Lee has built up his herd of cattle from 40 (about the number kept by Mr Bowyer) to 80. He has built a new cowshed to house 24 cows & an old cowshed remodelled with ten standings. His herd of home-bred Shorthorns is milked by machine & milk recorded, & the emphasis is on autumn calving. He now uses his own bull after artificial insemination had proved unsuccessful. After having a number of re-actors in his initial test he is now licensed to sell tuberculin tested milk.

As Mr Lee has always been in the main self-supporting, the war had little effect on his stock feeding methods. His practice has been to have his own cubes made up from his home-grown dredge corn. He has never made silage but relies on hay & roots, & this year (1953) he has grown the new fodder beet. Of his total area of about 250 acres Mr Lee estimated that about 80% was arable during the war, falling to about 70% now. The war-time arable included about 120 acres for seed & 30 acres of roots. Potatoes were also grown in the war. 

The labour force in 1940 amounted to 7 men: Wheeler (horseman); Henry Druett & Stephen Emblen (Thatchers & general workers); Clewes (cowman): these four men have long since retired for reasons of health and old age; Wickham & Mulford (cowmen); Streak (general worker). Now there are five men employed including Tuthill senior & junior (tractor drivers); Mulford & Wickham.

Mr Lee has met the considerable increase in wages from 30/- in 1940 to 120/- today by greater mechanisation and a policy of not replacing older workers as they retire, although youngsters are given the option of returning after national service. Also this year Mr Lee’s son will be leaving school to work on the farm.

Among other improvements undertaken by Mr Lee have been the installation of electricity in 1942 & the provision of water to all meadows & cottages. Previously water had to be carted.

The war then only had a minor effect upon Newland Farm; the arable acreage slightly increased, & there are now fewer horses & more tractors, but this is almost certainly a long term trend quite apart from the war. A section of Bull ground (O.S. 99) was leased for a school allotment by the Swallowfield Road; a military strong point was built in Pipers Plat (O.S. 111) by the Reading Road behind the houses on the pond site & has now been demolished & a bomb fell in the ditch by Great Newland (O.S. 183) blasting a crop slightly.

With the ploughing up of the village cricket pitch at Newlands Mansion (Mr & Mrs J.H. Simonds) O.S. 143, Sheet 38.13, soon after the outbreak of war, Mr Lee allowed games to be played in Church Path Paddock (O.S. 184) & Chamberlains Meadow (O.S. 183).


Arborfield Parish O.S. Sheet 46.1


O.S. No.

Pipers Plat


Bull Ground


Pudding Lane


Chamberlain’s P.P. (ploughed in war)


Newland Parish O.S. Sheet 38.3


O.S. No.

Bear Lane Meadow P.P. (ploughed 1941)


Long Meadow P.P. (ploughed 1941)


Biddles P.P. (ploughed 1941)


Gobles P.P. (ploughed 1941)


Meadow before Barnes P.P. (ploughed 1941)


Planners Mole Meadow


Ellis’s Hill


Church Gate Paddock


Great Newland


Cole Lane


Pipers Plat


Home Ground P.P. (part ploughed & mole drained during war)


P.P. = Permanent Pasture.

Name and address of recorder: B. Ridler, 34, Alpine Street, Reading
Date event recorded: June 1953

With acknowledgements to Reading Local Studies Library

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