A set of historical Stonnall photographs
with additional background information and edited by Julian Ward-Davies
Lower Farm was probably constructed in the early to mid 18th century in response to the potato boom shortly after cultivars of that species had been introduced from North America at around that time. Still described as a potato farm in an early 20th-century sales brochure, by the middle of that century agicultural production had diversified, with cattle accommodated in the enclosure now utilised as the village's playing fields and other fields devoted to the growing of peas and grain.
In a last iteration of diversification, many acres, including the area now occupied by Westwick Close, were given over to the production of blackcurrants. Many people will still remember the droves of blackcurrant pickers who descended on Stonnall annually to earn some extra cash.
Garnet Burton occupied the farm from 1918 and nearby Garnet Close is named after him. When he died on 24th May 1984, farming activities continued for a while under several different managers or tenants, but in 1992 the owner sold off the farm buildings for the purpose of redevelopment and it was at this point that this set of photos was taken.
We were living in Cartersfield Lane at the time, and the 'For Sale' signs had recently gone up. (I think it was common knowledge in the village that the farm buildings were going to be sold, anyway.) I thought it would be a good idea to take some photos before any work started, as a reminder of what the area looked like.
I was tempted to go onto the site for more photos, but I was reluctant to trespass on private property, so there aren't any pics from the other side.
I always meant to photograph them again from the same viewpoints, for comparison, but I never got around to it. In 1998 I started working in Milton Keynes, and eventually we left Stonnall and moved there. Maybe someone else will do the job for me.
Photographic images © Steve Parkes BA 1992, webpage © Julian Ward-Davies BA Hons PGC 2017.
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