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Cockermouth Post Article April 2010

I spoke to Joyce Hartley shortly before she died. She recalled days back in the 1930s, and aspects of farming life long since gone. This was a time when the railway in Cockermouth played a very important part in everyday life. Irish cattle used to be brought over from Dublin or Belfast to Silloth, from whence they would travel by rail to Cockermouth for auction. From the station they were taken across to pens on the Fairfield awaiting sale. This ground was also used as a drying ground for washing for the houses on South Street. Cattle bought by Joyce’s father would be walked the six miles back to the farm at Ullock, grazing on the way. Her father would have taken the train with his dog to Cockermouth to get to the sale. From the farm the cattle were taken to the fields beside Mockerkin Tarn called Hewthwaites (part of Hilltop Farm), where they stayed until fat and then it would be back to the auction to be bought by the butchers. She recalls that, unusually, one cow came with a calf, who was nicknamed Barney (after an Irish trader by the name of Barney Hart). A popular Sunday evening walk for the children during the summer was to visit Barney. On the farm this trade finished in 1939 with the coming of the war, when all the fields the family owned at Hewthwaites and Dean Moor had to be ploughed up for oats and wheat as part of the big push to increase the amount of locally-grown food.

Gloria Edwards

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