When I was a lad in Orton our next
door neighbour was Billy Butler, the Blacksmith. He had his
Smithy on East Road, and everyone took their horses to him to
shoed. The busiest time was just before hay-time May and June.
had been a Blacksmith during the 1st World War, shoeing the horses
over in France. That must have been terrible, seeing what an
awful end so many of them came to. Everything was done by
horse-power in those days, before the arrival of tractors. We
had a big working dales horse called Johnny. At hay time he
used for pulling the machine that cut the crop, and bringing it to
the barn. We also used him for ploughing,
and carting jobs around the farm, like removing manure.
were very dependent on the weather, and the crop was soon
spoilt if it rained. In good weather we
started about 6am, so Johnny could do a lot of his heavy work
before it was to hot.
I was fourteen, in 1946 I was
apprenticed to one of the village joiners Horace Wilson. He
used to make farm gates and doors, and do roof repairs. Everything
was made of wood in those days, so there was lots of work. We
used to walk to the farms, carrying with us what we needed.
Wood was in short supply, so we re-used up what we could if
I was paid 15/- a
week, and worked from 8am
to 5pm Monday to Friday, and Saturday mornings. I gave Mum 7/6 a week
for board (not much to feed a growing lad), and I was
to buy tools. I was lucky if I had 1/6 a week left, just
to go to a dance now and then. But money was very short for
everyone in those days