War Memorial Gary Trouton

Stoke Ferry Past

May 2004

Ron watts meets up with Lawrence Matthews to chew over the past history of Stoke Ferry

Recently I met Lawrence Matthews who has spent most of his life in the district. He worked for the late Mr Crouch and had many memories to share of those days on the farm, they were, he maintained, very happy times for him. He remembered well the grass drying plant where they used to dry the grass harvested from the fields in order to make grass meal and cubes for animal feed. The plant stood on the ground by the river on the Whittington side of Stoke Ferry bridge. Alongside the drying plant there was also a large chicory drying shed, but there is no sign of either there today. Lawrence was also telling me of the time when the Relief Channel was created and the machinery that was used, that was all fifty years ago.

He was able to produce some old 3inch by 2 inch black and white photographs that are beginning to yellow, mostly these were of people that he knew in his youth, especially members of the Wereham football team, and I am sure that he would be pleased to show them to anyone that might be interested. Among his collection there were these photographs of the old grass drying plant and the chicory shed, as well as shots of the grass being harvested and of Crouch's lorry. Sadly he did not have any photographs of the machines cutting the relief channel.

I am sure that if any readers do have other photographs of our villages in past times our editor would be very pleased to borrow them to include in the Pump.

Ron Watts

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