Edwardian Farm: The hard graft of country life

Wednesday 10 November 2010, 12:00

Ruth Goodman Ruth Goodman

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Our Edwardian Farm year is over! We have packed up the cottage, sent the animals off to their new homes and said a reluctant goodbye to all the many local people who so generously helped us.

But although it's over for the farming team and the crew - you can join us at the very beginning when the new series airs tonight on BBC Two.

Peter Ginn, Alex Langlands and Ruth Goodman in Edwardian Farm

It has been such a full year, hardly time to breathe let alone think. Alex Langlands, Peter Ginn and I are now quite a long standing team. Having lived through a 1620s year for Tales Of The Green Valley and then an 1880s year for Victorian Farm together we know each other well and have all ended up with our own interests and responsibilities.

This year we moved the filming to Devon, at Morwellham Quay, and while the action is based primarily on the farm, the new location allowed us to explore other aspects of the working countryside, including rivers, coasts and mining.

Peter's soft spot this year was for his fish. When it was suggested that we should have a go at hatching and raising trout for the sport fishing trade, Alex and I were rather sceptical, but Peter got stuck in immediately.

The odd contraption in the woods was regularly fiddled with and lovingly supplied with fresh juicy maggots throughout the summer. I don't know who was most surprised at its success, Peter or us.

Alex arrived for the year with his own cockerel - Sunny - under one arm, determined to make a go of poultry farming. My, was that cockerel pampered.

Ruth Goodman on her bike

As we accurately portray the life of the era and the roles played by men and women, I always get the domestic work, which whilst it does mean loads of cleaning and washing also means that I get to do loads of cooking and making things, both of which I really enjoy.


Ooh the food of this region has been a joy - scrummy and interesting. I also got a bike - wheeeeeee!!! The freedom, the speed, you have no idea of the sense of liberation.

Around the farm Peter supplied the most astonishing amount of muscle. Think you need a machine to do that job? Ha! Call Peter! It is not possible to overstate just how physical Edwardian country life was.

We have certainly all worked our socks off, farming, mining, scrubbing, fishing, a thousand and one jobs. Definitely worth it though, we have had a great year, so interesting, loads of fun and wonderful, wonderful people.

Ruth Goodman is a participant in Edwardian Farm.

Edwardian Farm is on BBC Two at 8pm on Wednesday, 10 November.

For further programme times, please visit the upcoming episodes page.

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    Comment number 41.

    Well done, another fantastic series. I am a teacher and have discussed you work with my students. They are fascinated by some of the details and they see what you are showing them as a real window into a lost world. We have may animated discussions in class and I teach maths!

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    Comment number 42.

    Can you please advise where the Tannery was located?

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    Comment number 43.

    The tannery is in Colyton . . . fascinating place!

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    Comment number 44.

    @northeastfirstaid: Sloes are the fruit of the Blackthorn and are most often found in a mixed hedgerow along with Hawthorn - the fruit is usually on the underside of the stem and in early October often behind the leaves - the leaves on the Blackthorn seem to stay on the bush a little longer the Hawthorne which means it can be seen from a distance in early autumn. You do need to 'get your eye in' as the yeast on the sloe berry can make them merge with the background.

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    Comment number 45.

    A very enjoyable series, as were the previous two. All very informative. Particularly like the livestock. Still an ambition to keep some Tamworths and get a Shire. Bit difficult with a small bungalow garden but one can dream.

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    Comment number 46.

    Hi, I'm really enjoying the new series. I was just wondering if any one could tell me the name of the country house that Ruth went to work in as a domestic servant in episode 4 and the book they talk about 'The Gentleman's House' I think its called and who its by? many thanks. I'm doing my Masters in Historic House Studies and am writting an essay on the staff of the 'Big Houses' and would really love to know where the team do their research for the series and if they could recommend anything.
    thanks,
    K

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    Comment number 47.

    To kimathy7

    The house is Lanhydrock near Bodmin and the "Gentleman's House" is available on googlebooks.

    To the Team

    Thanks for bringing many happy memories back - I used own an old miner's cottage in nearby Gunnislake.

    Are there any plans to do any further series? Maybe further back in time?


    Thanks F

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    Comment number 48.

    An excellent program. Ruth Alex and Peter are brilliant . I enjoyed the Victorian Farm too.

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    Comment number 49.

    Loving Edwardian Farm as much as I did Victorian Farm (so much so i've booked into Henley Cottage for a week next year, looking forward to that)
    What i'd like to know is all the extra people that mill around, are they local or sort of.."extra's" bought in...? I'd give my right arm to be on a show like this.....
    Great show anyway, looking forward to watching the rest :)

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    Comment number 50.

    Great series. Have been searching for Mrs Widgeon and her Baked Dinner but have not found anything online. Are her recipes published or can you provide details of the baked dinner please?

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    Comment number 51.

    Hiya! I am very interested in the Edwardian recipes you are using and have tried to find similar recipes online but I can't find any. I'd really like the precise recipes so I can try them myself at home. Could you post them on here or even better create a recipes section or something? My apologies if you have already done this, I've had a quick look on the site to see if I could find them but no luck, if they're on here somewhere just point me in the right direction! Thank you so much and keep it up this series is fascinating!

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    Comment number 52.

    Enjoying Edwardian Farm, as we did Victorian Farm. Who supplied the marvellous (native) Devon cattle? Did they return to their home herd after the year's filming?

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    Comment number 53.

    Hi!
    Not that it hugely matters, as the series is great so far and looks like it will be as good as the previous two, but some friends and I have been discussing how much time was actually spent by the team actually living on the farm. Really, how was the series made - we'd love a 'behind the scenes' or 'the making of...'. It must have been a huge undertaking by the team regardless!

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    Comment number 54.

    Andrews Alan & Safiravv - I have put several of the recipes I used in the book to accompany the series. Mrs Widger's roast dinner came from a wonderful book that I used repeatedly throughout the year called . A Poor Man's House' by Stephen Reynolds. It was written during the Edwardaian period by a gentleman about his experiences as the lodger of a very ordinary South Devon family.
    As for Edwardain recipe books - well surprisingly few were published in this period. This seems to be due to the phenomenal popularity of Mrs Beeton at this time - more copies were printed and sold in this period than in the Victorian.
    In searching for the local Edwardian life I used a lot of recipes recorded in autobiographical material, letters and so forth rather than London based publications.

    All tne best
    Ruth

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    Comment number 55.

    Hi Honoramoton
    Privies- In general most people put both solid and liquid waste in the same cess area. An earth flour to the pit helps it to drain away and part of the menagement of the pit involves an occaisional bucket of something dry and loose textured to prevent it all becoming wet and slimy. Just like a compost heap you need a mix of slow to rot dry matter to allow air into the heap along with the wetter and quicker to decay matter. For cess pits this means regular additions of straw or dried leaves, scrunched up paper or sawdust along with the human waste. One of the benefits of the combined human/pig method is that their straw bedding provides a good part of this mix allowing a quick and relatively smell free composting process.
    Ruth

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    Comment number 56.

    Well done to all involved with Edwardian Farm.
    Entertaining and educational, as was the Victorian Farm.
    When the current series has ended I should like to see the show that the team were involved with before,- which was 'Tales from the Green Valley' a series that I missed when shown first time around.

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    Comment number 57.

    The programme tonight said that British wheat lost out to world markets due to price. It's not strictly true. Climate has always given a lower protein wheat here in the UK and in Edwardian times we were using predominately wheat or flour from the plains in Canada. Their gluten levels were much higher than here and more suited to the kinds of bread being produced at that time. It was only really in the latter 20th century when the introduction of the Chorleywood bread making process allowed lower protein level wheats from these shores to be used on their own.

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    Comment number 58.

    brilliant series really interesting. i loved the victorian farm series and really enjoying the edwardian farm. keep going guys youre the best and peter you rock. xx

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    Comment number 59.

    great series as was the victoria farm but would love to know if Ruth tried spinning the wool from the sheep. as a spinner (and teacher) myself I would have thought that most farmers' wives would have spun their own fleeces.

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    Comment number 60.

    Some weeks ago Ruth mentioned an Edwardian cure for nits. Can you please remind me what it was, so we can try it on our daughter and get rid of them once and for all.

    Thank you

 

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