[17] Christine Reason: real life story 1957 to 1960

Continuing real life story 1957, Roy had always wanted to be self-employed, so he applied to the L.S.A. (Land Settlement Association) for a smallholding at Lawford, near Manningtree, Essex, and we moved there in November 1957.

We had a financial struggle at first, as we had to put down a deposit and then pay rent, so we had to borrow money from the L.S.A. at a very high rate of interest, namely 15%, which was a fixed rate due to the Suez crisis.

Rev John Haydon and Mrs Haydon in the 1940's.
Rev John Haydon and Mrs Haydon in the 1940’s.

My grandfather, John Haydon, had recently died at age 86 years, and I was left a legacy of £250, which would have been my mother’s share, from his estate, so I willingly gave that to help.

The policy of the L.S.A. was for each smallholding to keep pigs, battery hens, and grow crops, ( a three-legged stool they called it).
Roy refused point blank to keep pigs, as he knew nothing about them at all, and as pig keepers at that time, were not making much money, the landlord finally agreed.

We had the battery chickens for several years, centrally marketing the eggs, so this meant that we were tied to the place.
Unfortunately for the chickens, but a blessing for us, fowl pest in the area meant that all the birds had to be slaughtered.
This was a horrid time, as men arrived in a large vehicle, dressed in protective clothing, masks, etc, and they pushed all the birds into cages on the lorry, and took them away to be incinerated.
The battery house had to be fumigated, and was never used to house chickens again.

Being able to concentrate on horticulture, we did begin to make a small profit, and after several years of cropping lettuces in cold frames, hundreds of celery plants and tomatoes in Dutch-light houses, we purchased a steam boiler, and began to specialise in the earlier cropping of tomatoes.

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