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E-mails relating to Articles


31 January 2012


I have just read the fantastic article "A Little Boy in Ridgeway" and I wonder if you would be interested in a few additions I could offer: There are three girls in the school photo with Mrs Longfoot, who at six years of age I wanted to marry, although I don't think any of us knew what marriage was at that time. They are Jean Massey, Joan Rogers and Betty Stratford. I attended this school from 1936 to 1941, when at age eleven we were sent to Frecheville.


Kind Regards,


Raymond Hancock

born 09/02/1930





9 June 2010


Just stumbled across your site on the internet and it is fantastic. Reason for my stumble - have come across an old hand sickle under a cottage built in 1843. When cleaning it I discovered the name HUTTON & CO Made in England BY 2. And as a result I've spent the last hour having a great time learning so much from your website. I was wondering if it is possible to get an approximate date for my sickle - apart from the words already described it has a turned handle. I can forward a photo if that would be helpful. The chap who built our cottage in 1843 emigrated to New Zealand in 1842 but we have no idea whether the sickle was his or whether it was left behind by a much later owner. We'd love some help if you or any of your contributors can help.


Kind regards


Sue Thomas (Nelson, New Zealand)


Photo of sickle

Click thumbnail to view

full-size image



Editor's Note:


We contacted Ken Hawley, of the Ken Hawley Collection Trust, at




who informed us that "Made in England" can be date-significant. Apparently, the second trademarks act of the late 1890's made provision for articles to be marked “Made in England”. Before that, such a mark was not required or used. Ken's estimated date for the sickle is therefore after 1900.


Anne Thompson, of the Old Ridgeway Exhibition, also investigated the problem. She confirmed that the BY number (BY was the Hutton acronym for "Best Yet") implies a sickle size, and found the following Phoenix Works Company title changes:  


John J Hutton 1859
HUTTON & CO 1862
T & J Hutton 1954


So, this is helpful in narrowing down the date range further. Combining this information with that from the use of "Made in England", we can now say with some certainty that the sickle was made between 1900 and 1954.  


Whether we can hope for anything better than that, we’re not sure!



17 September 2009


I've just found your very interesting site through Coal Aston Village Hall's. I was interested to read (well, scan) the articles on the Phoenix Works, as I worked there for a year on leaving school in 1967. I worked for Mr. David Renwick, who rented a couple of small shops and produced wrought ironwork. (I'm sure you know this). The smith he employed was Mr. Jim Fowler of Gleadless. I remember Mr. Clegg and also Walt Rogers of Haven Farm, who claimed to be the last hand sickle tedder in England. Walt was a great character who prided himself on his weather forecasts. At that time, there was an old man ( well, he seemed very old to me at sixteen) who worked one of the hammers. He lived down Sloade Lane and had been the village blacksmith and farrier when Jim Fowler was apprenticed to him.


I hope some of this may be of interest to you.




John Hayward (Troway)





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