The creators of Victorian Farm return to uncover the lost world of the Edwardian "working countryside." Working for a full year, historian Ruth Goodman and archeologists Alex Langlands and Peter Ginn will bring Morwellham Farm back to life to explore a vibrant community where farming, market gardening, mining and fishing came together.
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April 30, 2012
August brings the climax of the farming year - and the end of the team's 12 months on the Edwardian Farm. The team must harvest their oat crop but everything depends on the weather. Constant rain is making the job impossible. So they need to be able to predict when a dry spell will come so that they can be prepared to swing into action. They investigate ways of forecasting the weather and embark on creating a weather vane. Peter tries his hand at the art of repousse to make a copper cockerel for the vane. And the team head for the woods to do a traditional charcoal burn in order to smelt iron for the compass points Ruth forages for seaweed on the coast to replenish the market garden's soil. When the rain finally clears, the team deploy the latest in Edwardian farming technology for the oat harvest - including a tractor that was then state-of-the art, the 'Moghul'.
April 23, 2012
It's July and the team face their busiest month on the farm. It's time to bring in the cherry harvest with the help of their Dartmoor pony Laddy, and enjoy a cherry feast to celebrate. Ruth tries her hand at salmon netting. Alex and Peter take drastic measures to save their potato crop from being destroyed by blight. We drop in on an Edwardian school room - complete with Edwardian discipline - before the children are put to work bringing in the potato harvest. Ruth learns how to make a bathing suit. There is a rare opportunity for a day away from the farm, as the team go on a church outing to the seaside.
April 16, 2012
It's June - and the team head up to Dartmoor to discover the ways in which Edwardian farmers took advantage of this unique and spectacular landscape to add to their income. The team follows a flock of sheep up onto Dartmoor, where it was traditional for many shepherd's to take their flocks for summer grazing. Alex and Peter get to grips with shearing, while Ruth takes the fleeces off to a wool mill to find out how it was processed and manufactured. Dartmoor was already becoming a popular tourist attraction, popularized by Edwardian celebrities - such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who made it the setting for his classic Sherlock Holmes crime thriller The Hound of The Baskervilles. There's a visit from Rupert Acton - the team's land agent during their Victorian Farm adventure - who arrives with his family in a vintage Rolls Royce. The team have a picnic with them before exploring Dartmoor using historic maps that enable them to follow an authentic Edwardian hiking trail.
April 9, 2012
It's May and, with Empire Day approaching, a very special boat comes to the Valley. The paddle steamer, Monarch, is arriving: one of only 3 in the country that's still operational. It's the first time such a vessel has arrived at Morwellham Quay in 80 years Back in the Edwardian period 1000s of tourists began coming to the Tamar Valley by paddle steamer every summer. The combination of reduced working hours and greater mobility encouraged a new form of tourism - day-tripping. Workers from towns and cities like Plymouth flocked to rural spots like Morwhellham Quay for festivities.
April 2, 2012
It's April and the fishing season has arrived - a time when Devon's 'fisherman-farmers' went to sea. Alex and Peter go to sea in an Edwardian trawler, hastily finishing repairs before setting sail. It's a hazardous enterprise which claimed many lives. They master the singing of sea shanties as well as steering a wind-powered vessel and casting a net the old-fashioned way - but will they catch any fish? Women were considered bad luck at sea, so Ruth stays ashore. She forages on the sea shore and prepares potted shrimp. She also builds a smoke-house and smokes some mackerel. Alex and Peter drive their herd of cattle along a dangerous drove road to find new pasture and prepare for the birth of the herd's first calf. Alex makes a coracle that Peter tests out on the pond. And Ruth explores one of the growing fashions of the Edwardian era by holding a séance.
March 26, 2012
It's March and the team greets the long-awaited arrival of Spring. It's time to bring in the daffodil harvest. During it's heyday in the early 20th century the Tamar Valley was the largest producer of early daffodils in Britain - the result of the region's mild climate combined with the arrival of a railway, which meant produce could be delivered to towns and cities across the country within hours of being picked. After picking and packing, the daffodils are raced off to the train station - a chance to experience the period steam engines on the South Devon line. Ruth - who used to work for British Rail - takes the opportunity to help operate the signal box and discover the ingenious ways Edwardian railways used for ensuring that trains ran safely and on strict time. Ruth's daughter, Eve, arrives on the train to spend Mothering Sunday on the farm - an important occasion in the Edwardian calendar For daughters, many of whom worked away in service, it was the only time in the year when they could get time off to return home.
March 12, 2012
It's February and the team approach the half way point in their year on the Edwardian Farm. To mark the occasion we explore one single day in a typical Edwardian Farmer's life - delving as never before into the details of daily existence and giving a fresh insight into the rhythms and routine of a way of life that's long been forgotten. Incorporating a remarkable cache of letters written in the 1900s and hidden for almost a century in a cottage at Morwhellham Quay, 'A Day in the Life' reveals the hidden stories of how ordinary rural Edwardians got by. We see how Edwardians prepared for the day when they got up in the morning - from struggling into a corset and Edwardian hair-styling to shaving and what they used to brush their teeth. Through the day we follow the team's routine - managing the animals; re-stocking the feed-store; tending the land; caring for an injured goose that's been attacked by a fox; going shopping; receiving a visit from an eccentric travelling salesman (whose wares include a remarkable range of Edwardian innovations such as the world's first ,tea's-made,!) and a football match against the Plymouth Argyle legends played under strict Edwardian rules - which means no off-side, no red or yellow cards, and wearing very, very heavy boots. And in between, of course, there's breakfast, lunch, dinner and a visit to the local pub to round-off the day.
March 5, 2012
It's January and the harshest winter in living memory forces to further explore the ways in which an Edwardian farmer would look to make a living away from the farm. Alex and Peter go down a copper mine, just a few hundred yards from their cottage, which was once the major source of Morwhellam Quay's wealth. In the 19th century the largest deposit of copper in Europe was discovered in Devon. And the mining industry made Morwhellham the busiest inland port in Britain. In the latter half of the century rising costs and cheap foreign imports put the copper mining industry into decline. But resourceful Devon farmers found other ways to extract income from copper - such as fossicking (literally scavenging by breaking up rocks overground) and building precipitation tanks which extracted copper deposits from the water which flowed out of the mines. Meanwhile Ruth learns the art of lace-making, visiting the town of Honiton which became world famous for producing Honiton Lace, renowned for its beauty, delicacy and intricacy. Once half the inhabuitants of East Devon were lace-makers. The boys also go tin mining in Cornwall - an industry which survived until the end of the 20th century when the last mine closed in 1998. But it's a grueling trade full of risks - as they drill blast holes by hand and get to grips with tools such as the grimly nick-named ,the widow-maker,.
February 27, 2012
It's December and, as winter sets in, the team must face the challenge of earning a living in one of the hardest months of the year. They'll have to profit from their livestock, leave the farm in search of part time work and head to the coast to reap the ocean's bounty. With poverty rife in the countryside, Edwardian farmers often had to find additional work away from their land. Alex and Peter follow in the footsteps of Tamar Valley farmers who traditionally took advantage of living between the North and South Devon coasts to profit from the county's other great industry - sea fishing. And Ruth follows the growing number of Edwardian women who entered domestic service. She goes to Lanhydrock House where she encounters luxurious Edwardian novelties such as running water, electric lights and even prototype vacuum cleaners. But when Alex and Peter have little luck on their sea-faring, fishing expedition, Ruth has to prepare a poor man's Christmas lunch.
February 20, 2012
It's November and, to prosper as Edwardian farmers, the team need to get to grips with the technologies of the age and use Edwardian science to set up an exciting new venture on the farm. Alex and Peter want to grow oats, essential as feed for their livestock, and potatoes, a reliable source of income. But first they must plough the land. Most Edwardian farmers still relied heavily on horse power, but new technology was on the horizon. A travelling salesman makes a dramatic entrance bringing a piece of the sate-of-the-art machinery from the Edwardian age - the world's first tractor, the Ivel. Ruth prepares for the arrival of the farm's pigs by restoring the farm's ,pig sty privy, - and ingenious construction combining a pig sty with a lavatory so that pig waste and human waste could be composted in one place. After introducing the pigs to their new home, Ruth grooms them. Peter embarks on building a trout farm and populating it by using revolutionary fish-breeding techniques that were new to Devon's Edwardian farmers. And Alex wants to maintain the farm's hedgerows - but first he'll need to learn how to forge a Devon bill-hook using water-powered technology. After all their hard work, Ruth cheers the team up by making sloe-gin and acquiring an Edwardian musical novelty - a gramophone.