When Birmingham grew, the area round Brook Lane and Robin Hood Lane was needed for more houses, so our family decided to move. Brook Farm, along with others in the area, was demolished in the 1930s. Eventually Manor Farm, Wroxall, Warwickshire was found. It was part of the Wroxall estate owned by the Dugdale family and, much against Grandpa Lowe’s advice as he felt it was in rather a poor state, my father rented it and we moved there at Lady Day 1935.
A very good farmer
Fortunately, my father was a very good farmer and after much hard work the farm prospered. It consisted of 327 acres and an extensive set of buildings, plus several which belonged and were used by the Wroxall Estate. Two of these in particular fascinated us children – one was a barn used as the carpenter’s shop, where Mr Whiting made and mended pieces of carts and other implements as well as making fences and gates for the Estate. The other was a very black slatted sided and corrugated semicircular roofed building which housed a creosote pit. It had a pulley which dipped the item into the inky depths and in due course pulled it out dripping wet to dry off and season. Needless to say a very distinctive smell emanated from that shed.
Our largest field was 27 acres and known as the Cemetery Field because at the far end was the village burial ground. It is likely that originally part of the field had been taken for that purpose. The field in front of the house was known as Manor Field, where my mother had a hen house. Another field was known as the Long Meadow and was about 26 acres. It had never been ploughed and some locals were horrified when, during the war, it was ploughed up and seeded with flax.
The two fields nearest to the house were called the Orchard Field, obviously because it was next to the orchard, and the Prison Field. Why the Prison Field I do not know, except that we were told that some of the blue bricks in the house and farm buildings had come from Warwick Prison in Barrack Street after it was demolished in 1860.