I RECENTLY spent a very enjoyable afternoon with the Wilton Mayor, Councillor Phil Matthews.

Phil has a wonderful collection of old photographs including this week’s offering which features more than twenty children from Woodford School taking part in May Day celebrations at Heale House, Woodford on Friday May 1, 1925.

Heale House was then the residence of the Honourable Louis Greville who had bought the magnificent establishment in 1894.

“The carter with the farm wagon is my late father, Arthur Matthews,” said Councillor Matthews.

“Apart from farm work he used to go out on hire with a horse and cart for the council when they were tar spraying the roads.

“He got six shillings a day and three shillings extra if he needed to take a trace horse if working on hill work.”

The horse-drawn vehicle pictured here is not typical of wagons used on Wiltshire farms at that time.

It is more like the ones that would have been seen in Dorset a hundred years ago.

Many English counties adopted a specific style for their agricultural and commercial wagons, and depending on the type of work being done they could be pulled by one, two, three or even a team of four cart horses.

Dorset farm wagons were generally of a simpler design and much less ornate than those made in Wiltshire.

The sides of a Wiltshire wagon tended to be higher at the back than at the front and the body often flared out over the rear wheels.

The wooden racks that can be seen slotted in at the front and back of this particular wagon were used to increase the load capacity.

Known as hay ladders, they could be found on most types of farm wagon.

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