Mudcat Café message #4018138 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #166876   Message #4018138
Posted By: Howard Jones
09-Nov-19 - 09:49 AM
Thread Name: Review: Walter Pardon - Research
Subject: RE: Review: Walter Pardon; Research
It is unwise to draw conclusions about buildings from their outward appearance or to make assumptions about what a "farm labourer's cottage" might have looked like. Besides, even if it were a smallholding, to call it a "farmhouse" seems over-promotion.

One of my favourite books in the "country childhood" genre is "Reuben's Corner" by Spike Mays about growing up in a hamlet on the Essex-Cambridgeshire border in the 1920s. I was staying in Saffron Walden earlier this year and took the opportunity to visit Steventon End as the hamlet is now known. If the link works, these are the photos I took:

Reuben's Corner photos

These cottages were being lived in by farm labourers at that time. The brick and flint cottage is where Spike and his family lived, and one is still known as "Wuddy's Cottage" after the farm worker in the book who lived in it. They now look very desirable properties and I doubt a farm labourer could afford to live in them now.

What was then the farmhouse is the rather fine large building with tall chimneys.

(If you want to read the book (and I recommend it) it has been republished under the truly awful title "The Only Way was Essex")