The Old Windmill

THE OLD WINDMILL just up our road, here in Middlestown, was already disused and converted to a dwelling when this photograph was taken about one hundred years ago. It had evidently been a good year for cabbages.

On most of the photographs that I’ve been drawing from, I don’t get an opportunity to put a name to the face but in this case it shouldn’t be difficult to look up the old mill in the 1911 census records to find out the names of, I’m guessing, mum and dad and their two daughters.

I’d love to know the names of these two boys (and their dog) who appear in the corner of the postcard of the haymakers that I drew yesterday. If I was the photographer, I’d have been annoyed that my timeless scene of rural life had been infiltrated by these Artful Dodgers but looking back after a hundred years they’re probably the best bit of the photograph. They’re so spontaneous and full of character. Looks as if they might be planning some minor mischief.

Unless they lied about their age and enlisted towards the end of the conflict, they should have escaped the horrors of World War I. It’s possible that in the past I’ve walked past them on the street but they’d have to be about 107 years old to still be with us today.

Making an altogether more elegant pair, these two girls are part of a group dressed in their Sunday bests strolling by Coxley Dam.

Straw hats were the thing to wear in those long gone Edwardian summers. I’ve found a young women in the 1911 census returns for Coxley Valley listing herself as a milliner.

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  1. Thats a lovely observation Richard. I do feel sorry for the childrens Mother though having to wash, starch and iron all the dirty clothes with none of our modern conveniences, she must have dreaded them going out to play!?
    Oh and talking of cabbages, I remember you once did a painting of a cabbage and it was fantastic, almost good enough to eat!

    1. And think of the difficulty they’d have finding furniture for all those round rooms. You could just go into Ikea and get fitted out. In fact they’d have 80 years to wait until the local Ikea opened.
      We’ve got some winter cabbages going and I planted them in the cold frame to stop the pigeons getting at them. The only trouble is that now in the sheltered environment the slugs are starting to nibble them. You can’t win.

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