Farming has had a significant influence on the history of Lincolnshire. There is evidence of farming in the county dating back as far as prehistoric times and by the time the Romans had settled here it was well established.
In more modern times farming still plays a big part in Lincolnshire life and it has evolved over centuries in order to respond to demand and technological advances.
As mechanisation was introduced in the nineteenth century yields improved. Encouraged by the success of the steam tractor, Lincolnshire became one of the main producers of agricultural machinery with company’s like Fosters, Hornsby, Marshall and Clayton and Shuttleworth becoming famous both nationally and across the world.
Mechanisation continues to play an important part in the development of farming. Henry Smith farms Home Farm in Withcall. In 1946 when Henry took over, the farm was 1,200 acres and employed 20 men. Now, at 3,250 acres, it has more than doubled in size but has only 2 hired workers, clearly illustrating the impact of mechanisation and new technologies.
“I remember what it was like when you had to carry 18 stone sacks and you had dust that you couldn’t breathe in and you were really grafting” says Henry. “I’ve got a museum that holds a lot of old machinery and I think the best place for a lot of that machinery is in that museum.”
The local landscape meant it has always been well suited to arable farming and during WWII the county saw 2000 young women join the Women’s Land Army. Lincolnshire is still known as being a key food producer and now a quarter of the countries vegetables are grown in the county as well as cereals, sugar beet, bulbs and flowers.
In Lincolnshire delivery of the Combine project will involve the project team visiting venues and events working with visitors and communities to discover more about farming in the county.
Activities will include:
• A map-making workshop, archive film screening and project display at the Open Farm Sunday event at Great Wood Farm.
• Visiting Louth Cattle Market and Louth Museum.
• We will be talking to and collecting memories from the residents of Newlands Court Sheltered Housing in Gainsborough.
• Working with pupils from Monks Dyke School who will take part in a variety of traditional skills workshops.