After the Great War in 1919, the Government proposed an agricultural scheme to rent smallholdings to returning soldiers, with the land to be owned by the County Councils.
In the Wokingham Rural District Council area, three local schemes were planned, plus a training centre to be built in Barkham. The lands at Barkham are still owned by the successor of Berkshire County Council (Wokingham District Council), though several of the cottages were sold at auction around 1980. Over the border to the west, there was a scheme at Great Lea House Farm in Shinfield, while in Newland, part of Carter's Hill Farm was offered.
There was a Special Meeting of the B. C. C. Small Holdings and Allotments Committee held at the Shire Hall, Reading, on Saturday, 20 September, 1919 at 11.30, which moved the schemes forward. Under the heading 'ARBORFIELD' (though it was in Newland Parish), was the following:
Part of Carter’s Hill Farm. Mr J. M. Dimond who
recently purchased Carters Hill Farm, Arborfield, has offered to the
Council 20 acres of pasture land, and two semi-detached Cottages, part
of this farm, for the sum of £1,150. The Sub-Committee are favourably
impressed with the offer and consider it will form 2 useful Cottage
Holdings and its acquisition is therefore strongly recommended.
Approved and adopted.
B.C.C. Small Holdings Committee. Newland: Carter’s Hill Farm. The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries have approved the proposed work of adaptation to be carried out at Carter’s Hill Farm at a cost of £870. The revised estimate of £870 is recommended by the Finance Committee for approval. Great Lea House Farm, Shinfield. A draft scheme to divide into 7 holdings. Barkham, Brook Farm – cost of materials recorded at £11,819.10s, in excess of original estimates.
The Local History Society would like to research this scheme in more detail. The holding is almost certainly Betty Grove. Some of the farm buildings are still standing. It is not clear which cottages were sold, but it seems to have been the more modern pair that still exist. The pair of cottages known as 'Betty Grove' have been demolished. Two cottages, each with a land holding, were let to ex-servicemen in the early 1920’s.
We believe that Bert Lock took over the cottage now known as Birds Nest in the early thirties, together with the land in Winnersh parish. The tenant in the other cottage (Catkins) was evicted in the late thirties for poor husbandry and Bert Lock took over all the land. He farmed until the mid sixties when ill-health forced him to give up. He and his wife were re-housed at Bayley Court in Winnersh.
The old Thames Valley Traction Company sold off their
old wooden double-decker bus bodies to owners of small holdings in the
1920's, and four ended up in the area - we think that they must have
been used as hen-houses at Carter's Hill.
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