The Fell Pony Museum: Late 19th C
The Fell Pony Museum
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In the 1880s, when a farm worker earned 13 shillings and 7 pence in a week, Strawberry Girl won £140 in a single race. How long would it have taken the farm worker to earn that much?

20 shillings to the £ ...

12 pence to the shilling ...

13s 7d = £49 in 2008's values

Theft of a pony and carriage

A Whitechapel cart fully loaded with the family

In October 1880 two butchers, William Smith and Thomas Gibson Smith, were convicted at the Westmorland Quarterly Sessions of "stealing a bay gelding, a Whitechapel cart and a set of brass-mounted harness, of the value of £55, the property of Thomas Armstrong of Brougham on 13th July last". William Smith, the elder of the two, was sentenced to 7 years' penal servitude and Thomas Smith to 12 months with hard labour. This seems a heavy sentence.

Whitechapel carts are mentioned in later years, but perhaps by then they were becoming less of a novelty. In 1890 a bay "Galloway" mare was offered at a farm sale at Stainton, "quiet at all work and very useful in harness" along with a "Whitechapel and harness". In Penrith on Market Day that year a runaway took place when a borrowed pony took fright at the noises of the market and broke the shafts of his Whitechapel cart -- maybe the cart was no longer new!

The railways take over

The railways had "greatly enhanced the value of property and produced a considerable increase in the material wealth of the district [Tebay]" says Bulmer (in Lambert) "Livestock no longer travelled on the hoof, but in railway cattle trucks, and even the fell ponies now went by train to Brough Hill Fair and Kendal Horse Fair," adds Joy (in the same book).

From the "Cumberland & Westmorland Herald", November 1903

"Mr W Hully, The Stud, Orton, sold his four-year-old gelding - which had had many showing successes - to a gentleman from Leyland for a good sum."

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Last updated 23 May, 2021 .
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