Tales of my Grandfather

Last Autumn Teresa and I attended a fund raising talk showing recently discovered photographs. Tring’s local history exhibition was the target. A local politician was the speaker. The photographs were wonderful, but the jokey, sarcastic remarks about Tring families got very irritating. In fact I had to have a word.

I think I’m probably Percy Mead’s only grandchild who can remember him. I was his first grandchild and I suppose I benefited. Tubs of ice cream hidden in the garden, a new pedal car, trips to see the aunts in Tring (perhaps a little reluctantly), stories read after Sunday tea. Anyway, I feel a bit defensive. Percy Mead did not like wasteful Council spending. He had leaflets printed about roadmen who toured the parishes with steamroller and horse and cart supposedly repairing the roads. He rented some land from the Council near Tring.

Tring held a one day agricultural show in Tring Park, no doubt sponsored by the Rothschilds. It was claimed to be the biggest one day show in the UK. Horses, cattle, sheep and poultry, and of course a flower tent. As was common on these occasions the local dignitaries and guests had a preview. With gents in bowler hats, ladies in their finery, the party moved to inspect the blooms. There, in the entrance to the marquee, was the biggest Boar Thistle ever seen. “Grown and exhibited by Tring Town Council”, the notice said.

Boar Thistle

In the 1930’s the Tring Council wanted a traffic island on the junction by the Robin Hood, and to prepare the public for this obstruction a small white circle was painted on the road. On the morning of the cattle market, a jam jar with a bunch of flowers appeared in the circle. A simple harmless protest, remembered 80 years later.

I’m not sure of the opinions of the men who worked on the farm. The work could be hard in all weathers with low wages, but they produced good crops. Good cattle and sheep were sent to Tring and Aylesbury markets. Grandpa introduced new machinery when available and won prizes in the Chiltern Hills Association growing crops competitions. He was a keen supporter of New Mill Baptist Chapel, being treasurer for some years. It is in the chapel cemetery that he was buried in 1945.

Article appeared in the Village News March 2009 page 17, The agricultural story line… By David Mead

This article is an extract from previous issue of the Village News. Any mention to events in the article have probably long since passed and are for information only.

Village News March 2009

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