Bill McCaig of reflects on the declining number of people working in agriculture on the farm around Stranraer

Bill McCaig interviewed by Jack Hunter on the 16th May 1999 in Stranraer.

 

Ref: DG26-4-1-2
© European Ethnological Research Centre, 2017.

 

JH:  Now, you’ve been involved in farming for the greater part of this century and you must have seen a tremendous number of changes during that time and ah remember you saying to me once that one of the biggest changes that you’ve noticed is the reduction of the reduction in the number of people living and working on a farm since you became involved in farming.  Is that right?

 

BM:  Oh, yes, when, well when I was a boy there was a very large number of people about the farm, we had six cottages, seven cottages, and each cottage produced a large number of children as well as workers and a perfect army of people went to work, certainly in the summer time when there was work in the fields, there was work for them, there was a large contingent of people.  But when I started there would be three ploughmen, three horse ploughmen, and an orra man and oh, maybe six outside workers who snedded and scaled dung and did the different jobs on the farm and of course the dairyman and his staff.  So there was generally about a dozen people going about the farm.

 

JH:  So, a farm would really be a wee community on its own.

 

BM:  It was a wee community, yes, each farm had its staff and there was a bit of rivalry, you know, between Challach and Kirkland and [?] and similar sized farms.  We always had a football team, oh well, the children had a football team, there was eleven, there was more than eleven.  And of course we’d one or two people would [?] too.

 

JH:  But most of these folk actually lived on the farm then.

 

BM:  Yes.  Yes, because the cottages were let, were quite often let to women for milking and working and these women milked and they had the cottage.

 

JH:  That would also, the fact they were all living on the farm would also add to the sort of community, the community spirit.

 

BM:  Community spirit, yes, you never went down to the steading but you met several people.

 

JH:  Yes.

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