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Photographic Record of the Martin family, market gardeners, of Pitchers Hill

In 1901 the family of Charles Martin lived in Sanatorium Road, Bengeworth, later to be renamed Kings Road. Charles was a market gardener, born in Bengeworth, and he was the son of George Martin (b. ca 1831 in Harvington) who later died in 1907, and Mary Ann nee Kinchin, who had died in 1890. His father, at 70, was still working as a gardener’s labourer. By the time of the 1911 census the family had moved to Northwick Road and Charles and his wife Matilda (‘Tilly’) nee Cook had eight children at home. These were Charles, b. 1891; May, b. 1895; Elsie, b. 1897; Frederick, b. 1900; Henry, b. 1901; Matilda, b. 1903; Alfred, b. 1907 and William b. ca 1910.  The eldest child, George, b. 1887, had left home and, according to the census form, one child had died by 1911.

The first set of pictures in this archive is of Charles and Tilly Martin and their family.

The Martin family in Northwick Road, Bengeworth in 1912.

The Martin family in Northwick Road, Bengeworth in 1912. Charles senior and his wife, Tilly, behind, with their nine children. Three of the sons became, like their father, market gardeners in their own right – George, seated, left, Charles, at the back and Frederick, seated right.
The Martin family all helping to tie bundles of asparagus, with parents Matilda, seated in the middle and Charles standing on the right.

The Martin family all helping to tie bundles of asparagus, with parents Matilda, seated in the middle and Charles standing on the right. This picture would be from the 1900s.
This picture was taken during the Great War and shows some of the Martin family and the German prisoners-of-war they had to help with the fruit harvest.

This picture was taken during the Great War and shows some of the Martin family and the German prisoners-of-war they had to help with the fruit harvest. Fred Martin is on the left in the front with his future wife, Emma Honeysett behind him. His parents did not allow him to marry until he was 21 years of age, in 1921. Charles Martin is in the centre of the front row and Matilda Martin is at the back.
Charles Martin junior leading the horse with his brother, Fred, holding the reins.

Charles Martin junior leading the horse with his brother, Fred, holding the reins.
The family moved from Bengeworth to Buckland, Aston Somerville, where Fred and Emma lived in this cottage on Buckland Fields Farm from 1921. The rest of the family lived in the main farmhouse.

The family moved from Bengeworth to Buckland, Aston Somerville, where Fred and Emma lived in this cottage on Buckland Fields Farm from 1921. The rest of the family lived in the main farmhouse.
The Martin brothers were all keen motorcyclists and are seen here on Royal Enfield motorcycles. The three market gardening brothers have machines with sidecars – Charles on the left, George in the centre and Fred on the right.

The Martin brothers were all keen motorcyclists and are seen here on Royal Enfield motorcycles. The three market gardening brothers have machines with sidecars – Charles on the left, George in the centre and Fred on the right. The family glasshouse is in the background.

The rest of this archive is of pictures of Fred and Emma Martin and their family, but both Charles (known as ‘Chas’) and George also had orchards on Pitchers Hill, Wickhamford. Fred bought land there from the J. P. Lord Estate in 1929.

Taken in 1933, this is Fred Martin’s wife. Emma, and first daughter, Marjorie, during fruit picking.

Taken in 1933, this is Fred Martin’s wife. Emma, and first daughter, Marjorie, during fruit picking.
This 1957 picture shows the Martin family who lived at 30 Pitchers Hill. From left to right, they are Emma Martin, Marjorie Martin, Fred Martin and Joan Martin.

This 1957 picture shows the Martin family who lived at 30 Pitchers Hill. From left to right, they are Emma Martin, Marjorie Martin, Fred Martin and Joan Martin.
The houses above the road in the picture are, from right to left, No 30 occupied by Fred Martin’s family, No 32 occupied by the Mason family and No 34 occupied by the Shooter family. The bungalow next to No 34 was occupied by George Halford. Below the road, from right to left, are 69, 71, 73 & 75 Pitchers Hill.

The houses above the road in the picture are, from right to left, No 30 occupied by Fred Martin’s family, No 32 occupied by the Mason family and No 34 occupied by the Shooter family. The bungalow next to No 34 was occupied by George Halford. Below the road, from right to left, are 69, 71, 73 & 75 Pitchers Hill. They were occupied at that time by Mrs Newbury, Arthur Carter, Mr & Mrs Billy Hampton and Mr & Mrs Halford.
Picking the plums - Emma Martin, up the ladder, her daughter, Joan, in the bonnet and a cousin.

Picking the plums - Emma Martin, up the ladder, her daughter, Joan, in the bonnet and a cousin.
Plum picking time and Fred Martin and his daughter, Joan, are using an ‘easywheel’ trolley to move the boxes of plums from the orchard to the weighing area.

Plum picking time and Fred Martin and his daughter, Joan, are using an ‘easywheel’ trolley to move the boxes of plums from the orchard to the weighing area.
Fred Martin and his daughter, Marjorie weighing the plums.  On the boxes it has ‘FRANK K. SHARP LTD  EVESHAM’.

Fred Martin and his daughter, Marjorie weighing the plums. On the boxes it has ‘FRANK K. SHARP LTD EVESHAM’.

Sharpes used to buy plums on contract for jam making and canning and their business was, possibly, in Avon Street. Sometime before the picking season started a representative - one was Gerald Sanger - would come around and the grower would agree to sell the company so many 'pots' of plums. The boxes seen in the photograph would be delivered, the plums picked into them and then they would be stacked on the side of the road, sheeted over and a lorry would pick them up later in the day. The larger boxes (56lbs) were used for yellow eggs and purple eggs and the half boxes used for the Victorias. It was a really exciting and busy time for the plum growers. It was probably during the early 60's plum jam became less popular, as did tinned plums, and that was really the demise of the yellow and purple egg plums and Sharpes were no longer buying plums on contract. The dessert plums still had a market in those days but even that market has declined due to the import of foreign fruit.

Fred and Emma Martin picking raspberries – apparently grown as individual bushes rather than trained on a wire.  Emma always wore a hat when working out in the open.

Fred and Emma Martin picking raspberries – apparently grown as individual bushes rather than trained on a wire. Emma always wore a hat when working out in the open.
Fred Martin’s heavy clay soil could be difficult to dig, so a two-tined fork was the tool of choice.

Fred Martin’s heavy clay soil could be difficult to dig,
so a two-tined fork was the tool of choice.
Keeping the weeds under control with a hoe in the Summer.

Keeping the weeds under control with a hoe in the Summer.
In the Winter months Fred Martin kept his family supplied with wood for the fire.  If he couldn’t work on the land he used to chop wood.

In the Winter months Fred Martin kept his family supplied
with wood for the fire. If he couldn’t work on the land he
used to chop wood.
Watering the young tomato plants in a small glasshouse – before the days of growbags !

Watering the young tomato plants in a small glasshouse –
before the days of growbags !
This picture, taken earlier than those above, is from 1945. Its was taken at the rear of Elm Farm, Manor Road, which was and still is, owned by the Daffurn family. The children are Derek Daffurn, Diana Daffurn, Denise Daffurn, Joan Martin, Ramona Daffurn and Marjorie Martin.

This picture, taken earlier than those above, is from 1945. Its was taken at the rear of Elm Farm, Manor Road, which was and still is, owned by the Daffurn family. The children are Derek Daffurn, Diana Daffurn, Denise Daffurn, Joan Martin, Ramona Daffurn and Marjorie Martin.

Acknowledgements. Thanks are due to Mrs Joan Bearman nee Martin, for lending the photographs and allowing their use. Val Harman supplied additional comments on Frank K. Sharp Ltd.

Tom Locke - December 2012