This book is a stunning and gentle insight into being a farm labourer just as the railroads arrive. I read it ages ago then recently picked it up again and found I couldn’t stop myself from rereading the whole book, it was just so enjoyable to turn the pages and spend time with Fred Kitchen.
The Same Sky Over All and Where Beards Wag All, also books which cover changes in farming in the period up to and after the Great War of 1914-1918.
Little Toller books recently did a reprint of Brother to the Ox, which is already out of print but you can find them 2nd hand online for around the £10-15 mark fairly regularly.
The Painful Plough
by Roy Palmer
The full title is ‘The Painful Plough: A Portrait of the Agricultural Labourer in the Nineteenth Century from Folksongs and Ballads and Contemporary Accounts’ which pretty much does the job.
It tells the story of Joseph Arch, a farm labourer who went on to start one of the first agricultural labourers unions and eventually to become an MP.
A superb piece of work and a huge source of inspiration for the concept of the show ‘Three Acres And A Cow’.
This entry was posted in
1800's, 1900's, Books, Key text and tagged agitation, ballad, farm, farmer, folk, Joseph Arch, labourer, reform, song, union on . May 26, 2014