Hilary Bowen

Bowen_Hilary_May2017Hilary has worked in and lived in Great Witley since the late 1950s. Working in predominately in agriculture with her late husband Mr Doug Bowen, Hilary recalls many aspects of farming in the local area and the wide ranging changes she has seen take place during the last 60 or so years.


Hilary Bowen a driving Fordson E27N tractor with corn binder in the Great Witley area.

Hilary’s detailed account of the work required on smaller farms before the arrival of mechanised handling equipment will be familiar to many. Hay making, harvesting, potato and sugar beet production are recalled in detail. The listener is reminded of the huge amount of hard manual work required much of which is now fortunately a thing of the past.


A lifelong horse lover Hilary is now in her eightieth year and continues to run a flock of sheep at Home Farm Great Witley and nearby Structons Heath.

Hilarys recording: Bowen_Hilary_20170512_1_2      (38 mins 26 secs)

Start Topic Period
00.16 Working at Hillhampton Farm for Mr Cotton and assisting with rearing poultry 1950s
01.38 Hilary recalls meeting her future husband Mr Douglas Bowen 1950s
02.30 How different Great Witley was in the 1950s when many people worked in agriculture. 1950s
03.15 The Sugar beet crop and its importance to the agriculture of the area. How labour intensive the crop was. Planting singling, lifting, cleaning, topping, lugging out and hauling to the Sugar beet Factory at Kidderminster. Much of it done by hand. 1950/60s
09.50 Potatoes. Planting, care of, digging, collecting, bagging storing. Sorting and bagging. Using a bagging stick. 1950/60s
17.32 Hauling bagged fertiliser from Stourport railway station. All loaded and unloaded by hand. 1950/60s
1935 The corn harvest. Bagger combine harvester and loading the full sacks by hand 1950/60s
19.45 Storing and drying the corn at Home Farm naturally without the use of grain drying equipment 1950/60s
22.26 Hay making the old fashioned way 1950/60s
23.38 Using a corn binder at camp farm and Clows Top. Probably the last one to be used locally 1950s
24.55 Livestock farming in Great Witley. Dairy herds, milk churns, milk tables. Poultry farming. Kidderminster market 1950/60s
28.25 Apple Harvest. Hauling apples to Bulmers factory in Hereford 1950/60s
29.15 Hauling ashes and clinker from the Power Station in Stourport. 1950/60s
30.00 Collecting manure from Rimells racing stables for Mr Davies mushroom growing and fruit canning enterprise at Witley Court 1950/60s
31.38 Len and Bert Blythings Desert Arab horses at Home Farm, Great Witley 1950/60/70s
32.48 A   thoroughbred travelling stallion visits to the Hundred House and Hill House Farm and palmers Chemists in Stourport 1950s
35.00 Changes to the village life and the school in Great Witley
36.04 Sheep Farming at Home Farm Great Witley and thoughts about how lucky we are to live in such lovely surroundings 1960s to present.

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