Hugh Parker was born in Bridge End cottage, Elterwater in 1929. When he was 2, he moved with his parents to Thrang Farm at Chapel Stile. At 14, Hugh left school and found work as a ‘farm lad’ or labourer. He married local girl, Olive, in 1954 and 7 years later they took on their own farm, Middle Fell, owned by the National trust. His son now farms at Thrang farm where Hugh grew up.
Hugh remembers the demanding life of a farm labourer and the intensive process of early silage making. He tells of the early sheep-dipping process and the dangerous chemicals in use at the time. He also tells how the experiences of WW1 changed the expectations of a lot of local men from his fathers generation, and began the move away from traditional employment on farms and in the quarries.
“Mechanisation was just coming into its own then as old motors mowers, old cars were being converted with mowing machines fixed into the back of them… there was a mechanic down here in the old gunpowder works that was quite innovative. He found out how to fit the mowing machine into the chassis of the old car and drive it off the back axle with big chains and there was two or three of these machines in the valley.”