Occupations and Living Conditions

This section looks at living conditions and employment opportunities for the residents of Wedderburn Road and how they have changed in the last 100 years.

Early Residents of Wedderburn Road

Street Directories and the 1911 Census provide details of male occupations. Women and children used to work to add to the weekly income. Information about this has been gathered from interviews recorded elsewhere and recollections from Wedderburn Road residents. There would have been times of unemployment for many men during the 1920s and 30s too.

Living Conditions

Living conditions have changed a lot since the road came into existence.  Relics of earlier domestic arrangements still survive. Several houses have the original outhouses that were used as stables for horses or for storing carts.

An abandoned pig trough in a local garden, now used for bedding plants
An abandoned pig trough in a local garden

Brick foundations from former pigsties are still being dug up. Outside toilets and wash houses have been adapted for other uses. External air raid shelters have survived in one or two gardens.

Former sink used for household washing in an outhouse. Now potted up with alpines
An old wash sink found in a local garden.

A few neighbours still have the wells that provided daily water for all the families’ needs. These bygone features and some fascinating memories combine to provide a unique window into life in Wedderburn Road over the last century.

Strong community support

The stories that have emerged show how strong the communities were that lived in Barbers Hill or Wedderburn Road. Few had to travel much further than neighbouring villages for work, so the menfolk were a stable presence. Families who experienced hardship were well supported by kindly neighbours.  Men with drinking problems were watched with amusement and concern. Extended families or families with large numbers of children would be supported from within the road.

Children may have been more resilient than their counterparts today too. They amused themselves in the road and the nearby fields with all kinds of imaginary games. Go-carting was a popular sport among the boys. Home-made carts provided opportunities to practise design and construction skills – without the need to comply with health and safety regulations. Scrumping was a seasonal activity that frequently ended in reprimands by the owners of the fruit trees and the child’s family.

Living conditions were often hard but life could also be full of simple pleasures.