History of Haymaking told in new book

THE history of haymaking in the North Pennines has been committed to print in a new book which has taken four years to research.

“No Five o’Clock on our Calendars: a History of Hay Time in the North Pennines” was put together by Neil Diment, hay time community officer for the North Pennines AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Partnership.

He based the book on interviews with retired farmers plus photos donated from farms across the area.

“Over the past few years I have been lucky to have had the chance to meet and talk to a number of retired farmers from the North Pennines,” said Mr Diment. “I have delighted in their extraordinary stories of hard work and community spirit. This book is a celebration of the vital role that these people have played and continue to play in the management of our glorious meadows. In our book the farmers tell their own stories in their own words and these are brought to life by wonderful images depicting the hard work that was hay time half a century and more ago.”

The title “No Five o’Clock on our Calendars” comes from conversations with Bill Nixon, an agricultural contractor who worked across Teesdale in the 1950s. Although office, shop and factory staff worked until 5pm, farmers worked to the old adage of ‘make hay while the sun shines’ – with no set finishing time.

The book, launched yesterday, costs £6.99 and is available from local tourism offices, the AONB Partnership offices in Stanhope, by emailing info@northpenninesaonb.org.uk or calling 01388 528801.

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