One hundred years ago; July 1917.

Of immediate interest this month is a Notice of Sale of the entire Appledore Gas Works. Established in 1874 on land in a field called Barn Close, which is part of Watertown in the Parish of Northam. The site, leasehold at £4 per annum comprises – “Extensive buildings, Plant and Machinery. Manager’s Dwelling house. Retort House. Smith’s shop. Engine House and stores. 2 complete Gasometers, a Crossley Gas engine and many other tools, furniture and fittings”. All for sale on Thursday next, 19th July 1917, at the Rechabite Hall in Appledore. (The site eventually became part of Hinks’ boatyard.)

To be let at Hallsannery, 26 acres of productive farmland in four separate fields for the next 4 years. The taker is to crop these fields with 2 crops of corn followed by a root crop and then followed by another corn crop. The seeds will be supplied by the landlord. The tenant is to pay all the rates, taxes, and is required to keep all the fences and gates in good repair. The owner reserves the sporting rights.

From an earlier month we reported on the call-up relaxation for farm workers. In this month’s newspaper any worker in full time employ since 31st March this year who receives his call up papers should take them to his employer and the Recruiting officer, who will have them rescinded. Of 500 soldiers held in Exeter, 400 have been placed with farms needing immediate labour. However several have been returned to Barracks because”They could not milk”.

Bideford Guardians in Meddon Street report that the numbers using the Workhouse are the lowest for several years. There are 65 inmates compared with 87 during the same period last year. The committee have accepted a tender for the supply of butter at 2/- per pound, surprising considering the hard times many of the public are experiencing and the Guardians are seeking tenders for the supply of 120 tons of coal for the winter.

At Weare Giffard the strawberry season is over for this year ; most of a considerable crop has been sent to Wales. Mr K P Balson of The Barton has 2 lady assistants on his farm who are doing most useful work. Throughout the village the potato crop has been sprayed and Mr Lock from Locks Beam Farm was relieved to hear that a prize bullock originally presumed drowned in the river Torridge during a flood spate has been found downstream on the other bank among a herd of cows.

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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. Website – www.bidefordarchive.org.uk

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