Making a haystack – part two

In our last post, Sybil Perry explained how the lower part of a haystack was built in the late 1920s and early 1930s, based on her first hand experience of watching the process when she was a girl. Her account continued –

‘When the rick got too high for the men doing the pitching to reach, an elevator had to be used. This implement was a long wooden trough carrying a continuous chain with metal spikes set at intervals along its length, which acted as a conveyor belt.’

This photograph of Haymaking at Knapp Farm in Market Lavington shows an elevator in use in the 1920s.

Sybil explained that the belt ‘passed through a large hopper, which the men kept filled with hay, and the spikes picked up the hay, carried it to the top of the rick and, as the spikes swung over the top, the hay dropped onto the rick and the spikes began their downward course on the underside of the trough.’

There is also an elevator in our wonderful photograph of the Lush family haymaking on Salisbury Plain in 1890. (Note the ox on the extreme right of the picture!)

Sybil informed us that ‘the elevator’s motor power was supplied by a small petrol motor in the 1930s, but until then a pony was used. It walked round in a small circle and turned a large gear wheel’ but Sybil couldn’t ‘remember as far back as the pony.’

Next time we will conclude Sybil Perry’s memories of haymaking by considering how the rick was completed.

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