One hundred years ago – March 2017.

There has been no break in the wintry conditions across the region. The seasonal rise in temperature usually seen during this month was only very slight. Frost and fog have been persistent and snow has fallen on several days – over an inch was recorded nearby at Cullompton and more was seen in South Devon. It has been the coldest and wettest March since 1888.

A Mr Prothero has written to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking guidance on the question of Sunday working, especially on farms and in the fields because of the expected poor harvest. In his reply from Lambeth Palace Archbishop Randall says that as long as there is no compulsion to work, men and women may, with a clear conscience, work on a Sunday.

Despite the cold an adder was killed in Parkham at Powlers Piece and another at the waterworks at Meddon.

Bideford Guardians now meet monthly, because farming members who are short of labour cannot attend the original fortnightly meetings. During the meeting this month the Board decided to change to margarine instead of the usual butter. At a similar meeting of the Torrington Guardians a review of the weekly allowance for inmates was considered – currently this comprises 6lb 14 ozs bread, 9½ oz cake, 6oz flour, and 1lb 11½ oz meat per week. The Guardians suggest that in view of the recent Food Rations Directive this consumption will have to be cut down.

Addressing the shortage of labour, the Board of Agriculture is releasing nearly 1,000 men for service on the land in Devon. Many of these are Army reservists. No German prisoners are available. Local Farmers requiring help should apply to the clerk to the War Agriculture Committee, Mr W T Braddick, at 25, High Street, Bideford.

Bideford Chamber of Trade hosted an interesting lecture on “The Metric System of Weights and Measures” given by Mr Cecil J Smith. At the closure the Mayor, Mr Chope, proposed a resolution in favour which was defeated amidst laughter , much reluctance, and outright hostility.

Property for Sale this month: ‘The Oak’ in Fore Street, Northam, currently occupied by James Chapple, and a field also in Northam known as Lords Meadow, in the tenancy of John Penhorwood.

On 27th March the usual timetable for the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway appears on the front page showing train times up to 31st May. However in the Western Express & Weekly News dated 31st March this Notice appeared indicating that the service had already ceased.

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The Archive is preparing an exhibition about the Bideford, Westward Ho! and Appledore Railway and have already received postcards not previously published. If you have any memorabilia or items of interest, we would be pleased to borrow them.

These and many more items of local interest are available to read at the Bideford Community Archive at the Council Offices, Windmill Lane, Northam. Tel: 01237 471714. Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings.

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