Transcribed from the Newark Advertiser - 6 Mar 1946



Many friends in the Newark district will extend their congratulations to Mr and Mrs James HOLLINGWORTH, of The Manor Dairy Farm, Coddington, who will celebrate their diamond wedding on Friday.

It was on March 8th, 1886 that Mr and Mrs HOLLINGWORTH were married at St. Nicholas’ Church, Nottingham.  At that time the bridegroom was in the butchering trade in Nottingham.  He hailed from Ufton Fields, Okerthorpe, in Derbyshire, was the second youngest of a family of nine – now in his 80th year – and Mrs [Florence née EDWARDS] HOLLINGWORTH was a Nottingham lady.

There were great celebrations at Coddington at the time of the golden wedding when there was a reunion of fifty relatives, and there is to be another party to mark the 60th anniversary.

Mr and Mrs HOLLINGWORTH’s married life has been a long and varied one.  In business, Mr HOLLINGWORTH has had his share of adversity as well as success, and it is with pride and thankfulness that he recalls the happiness he has derived from his wife and family.

Sixty-Eight Years Ago

“Looking back on life for sixty-eight years may not interest those about my age,” said Mr HOLLINGWORTH in an interview with the “Advertiser,” “but I would like the mechanically minded young farmer to know a little of how hay and grain harvests were gathered in about 1878.  The time previous to this was known as the ‘Wet Seventies’ when thousands of sheep died of fluke, their livers full of small live creatures like a plaice in shape and when the sheep died there was no blood left in them.

“Foot and mouth disease was spreading to every county.  No cheese was made after this (up to this outbreak three to four tons were sold every year from our farm) and for years hundreds of cheese makers had to try some other way of finding money to pay their rents.  At this time the rent was often £3 an acre.  Imported American cheese came on the market and it was not possible for farmers to carry on.

“The implements then in use for haytime and harvest were, a convertible grass mower, a wood tipover rake, a bonny rake pulled by hand, hand rakes and forks.  The convertible mowing machine cut most of the corn, the sheaves being tied by hand as they were put out of the back of the knife bed, six to eight men following, making their own bands.  Three Irishmen used to arrive each year; they lived very sparingly and saved their money to send home to Biddy, and I remember their farewell to my father, ‘Goodbye master, we be here next year’.”

Continuing, Mr. HOLLINGWORTH said “At ten years of age I could milk a cow, at eleven sow salt out of a hopper, at twelve drive a pair of horses when cutting corn, and could clip sheep at fourteen.  Then there was ploughing and plough driving six and eight horses and helping the wagoner to feed, clean and harness.  Horses were on the plough at seven in the morning and I trailing round and round, kicking clay off my feet until the wagoner calls ‘Whoa, take ‘em off, Jimmy, it’s ten past two.’  After dinner, there were two horses to take out again to cut and chop a concoction that hundreds of young farmers have never seen.”

Tried the Dead Meat

These long tiring days finished my career as a farmer, for a time,” he went on, “and I left the soil I now love so well to try my hand as a butcher.  However, dead cattle did not interest me and when frozen meat was imported and one had to sell 4 or 5lb of meat for 1s on Saturday nights to finish and sell out, owing to lack of refrigerators, I packed up and took over a few acres of land.

“My father soon enquired what I was going to do with my land.  Though I was not aware of it I had learned a lot in my youth and this knowledge, together with my business experience, was very useful.  As I gained experience and the Agricultural Organiser gave me a little insight into the soil deficiencies I found I could grow two blades of grass where one grew before.  In 1919 I became owner-occupier of 140 acres of arable land and 12 acres of grass land.  In less than two years any slight profit I had made disappeared from the arable side and thousands of acres went out of cultivation.  The whole scene is now being re-enacted; people coming into the industry and paying fancy prices, which I hope will not soon go up in smoke”

Started Friesians

“I must now tell you why, in 1919, my little investment did not fail.  In the ‘Farmer and Stock-Breeder’ of which I am the oldest reader alive to-day (I know this because I won second prize when a prize of £5 was offered to the oldest reader) most farmers who at that time read the paper would see something like this ‘Why keep three cows to give you less milk than one British Friesian.’  I was convinced that this was a business proposition.”

In this room are two pictures, one in large print, “Persistent Production”  This is to certify that the British Friesian cow, Flixtone Countess, owned by James HOLLINGWORTH, produced under official control a total yield of milk weighing more than 50 tons, or 11,200 gallons, dated 20th April 1932.”  On that date she was still giving 5 gallons at 16 years old.  Three cows in the herd gave 29 gallons.  The other is a painting of Gourie Marigold, twice winner at the Royal Show and with other show successes.

These are pleasant memories to look back on and many of these successes are due to my wife, my partner for sixty years, and an industrious family of four daughters and five sons, some who, like their father love the land and a farming life.

In conclusion, Mr HOLLINGWORTH said, “If you wish to become a success and a nice big nest-egg is not forthcoming, think of me.”