Janina Holubecki has just sent us some wonderful photographs and documents about her grandmother Margaret Hopper nee Moncrieff who farmed at Yorescott with her husband Redvers. They had northern dairy shorthorns and Dalesbred sheep apparently.
Margaret, it turns out, brought a specialist knowledge of dairying to her marriage as she had trained at the Cheshire County Council Dairy Institute at Worleston. Her daughter, the late Ann Holubecki wrote this about her:
“She was born Margaret Elizabeth Moncrieff in Lancashire and attended a dairying and cheesemaking course at Worleston Dairy Institute in Cheshire (now Reaseheath College of Agriculture). She took up cheesemaking and came to Kirkby Malzeard to make Wensleydale cheese in the 1920s. She then moved to Bainbridge to make cheese in the old mill, which had been converted to a dairy. There, she met Joseph Redvers Hopper – Farmer and Auctioneer – and they married in 1925.”
‘The Victorian Farmhouse Kitchen’ Now Then Vol. 23: Nov. 2014 pp8-9
Janina also sent us scans of some of the correspondence from Worleston , including Margaret’s letter of acceptance transcribed below – note that ‘we keep no maids in the dairies’!
Nantwich 31 December 1919
Dear Miss Moncrieff
I will keep a place for you for the second term and let you know later the exact date.
You must understand that everyone works very hard here –we keep no maids in the dairies and everyone has to do their share in the cleaning including floors etc.
With every good wish for the coming year. Believe me,
J Forster [Principal]
In a later letter, she is told to bring the following items of clothing:
“You will need two milking overalls…….strong boots and plenty of aprons (including rough ones for cleaning). Bedroom slippers with soft bottoms – house slippers. Otherwise you dress as you like. Of course plain blue dresses for the dairies.”
From the photograph, it appears that once qualified, Margaret chose to wear jodhpurs rather than dresses – she was clearly a very practical woman. The course at Worleston looks to have been very comprehensive as this prospectus shows:
We’re looking forward to hearing more about Margaret’s career in cheesemaking at Low Mill dairy and at Yorescott farm.