The new Hartley Agricultural Colony is making satisfactory progress. The Rural Development Company has taken over the business of Small Owners Limited, on the Fairby Farm and Hartley Manor Estates, is providing additional facilities for the promotion of local industries, including poultry farming, pig-keeping and a bacon factory. The colony has, of course, been somewhat affected by the war, 14 of the residents and the company's staff have joined the colours, but there is a good prospoect of business being greatly developed by the increased demand for produce of all kinds. The projected Fairby Fair had to be indefinitely postponed, but a poultry conference is to be held on January 4th. The social side is not by any means overlooked, as the Cooperative Society and the Ladies' League and the Social Club are all flourishing. In spite of the war, several newcomers have taken up residence during the last few months.
One of the most promising schemes of rural development which we have peronally investigated is that at Hartley, Longfield, which was brought before the notice of a select number of visitors on Saturday last, by means of a conference and other procedings.
this scheme is that promoted by the Rural Development Company Ltd, whose centre is Fairby Farm, Hartley, Longfield. the proprietors of this company are Mr Cuthbert A Lambton of Hartley Court, and Mr George H Humphrey of Steephill, Fawkham, who on joint stock lines, act as financiers and guides to teh budding farmers who are constantly throwing in their lot with the scheme. The nucleus of the company's property was the Hartley Court estate [actually it was Fairby Farm]. this was soon snapped up, by men who are now doing well as smallholders, especially with their fruit and poultry, and an adjoining estate was purchased which brought the area under the Company's control to nearly 1,000 acres. Two or three hundred of these are still be obtained, on the easy terms prevailing on the estate, but judging by the history of the Company and the present prospects, these will not for long go abegging. Meanwhile, in the hands of the company, they are being capably farmed. In looking over the estate as it stands at present, the visitor must be prepared to shut the aesthetic eye, to some extent, and be content with the utilitarian aspect. One hopes, however, that the opportunity will not be permanently lost of making Hartley amodel village in its appearence as well as in its resources. What is being done now will be the inheritance of succeeding generations, and it would ill become the enterprising and enlightened people connected with the estate to hand down to posterity something which would give it an indifferent opinion as to the taste of the present generation. Granted that some of the defects of design are a legacy from its predecessors, yet the present company has the chance to correct any failings of the past before they become irremediable. From an agricultural point fo view, however, Hartley seems very well favoured. To anyone not himself owning the critical eye, information is plentifully at hand as to the capabilities of this locality. Men fresh to the land are, after one or two years' experience here, drawing incomes with gratify them, and enjoying an Elysian Existence which they would not surrender for gold. The lure of the land has laid hold of them, and the land here responded to their love and care. From time to time conferences, are to be held on subjects of practical interest to the settlers, who by the way, now number nearly a hundred, and the question of the production of eggs and poultry now being a pressing one, the proceedings on Saturday were entitled 'The Poultry Boom Conference.' The Company believes in poultry as a valuable adjunct to the small holder, and it shows the way to success by intself demonstrating on poultry culture. At the moment it has an American house in being and another in course of erection, an possibly an improvement, of the original. Opinions may differ as to whether these eleaborate American houses, which are as minutely and careully planned as to every hygienic detail as a sanitorium, are best fitted for this country. But their use is not compulsory. There they stand as a demonstration, and one can easily see that whatever else may be said for them, they achieve one great object, that of labour saving, which is a consideration to a man who has to make the utmost use of his own time and that of those around him. These houses were on Saturday duly inspected by the visitors, some of whom had come a considerable distance, and afterwards the principles and prospects of poultry farming were discussed in the excellent Village Hall which the Company has provided, and which is the social and educational centre of the community. Mr Will Hooley, a well known authority on the subject, was the principal speaker, but the Chairman, Mr Lambton, also took the opportunity of saying a few words on the topic as well as on the policy of the Company with reference to the small holders. There was no doubt, he said, that now was the proper time to start a poultry farm or to increase the stocks already held. Before the war, 8¼ million pounds' worth of eggs were imported to this country annually from the continent. The war had stopped these supplies and also destroyed the breeding stocks; therefore that 8¼ million pounds' worth of eggs would not be forthcoming either during the war or for a considerable time after. The question we had to decide was therefore: 'Have we the energy and enterprise to secure this market?' Apart from the financial aspect, it was up to us as a nation to put ourselves in the position of being able, at the end of the war, to help rehabilitate the devastated homes of our allies. Now was the time to act. As a Company they (the Rural Development Company) were firm believers in the value of poultry to the small holder as well as in the value of the small holder himself to the nation. That value was dependent on the fact that the poultry must be profitable to their owner. They must be profitable to their owner. They must be profitable as a business proposition, without any aid from Government or financiers, or charity of any sort. Success and a good income could be obtained from poultry. They could be obtained by industry, attention to detail, and common sense, combined with knowledge. Common sense, industry and attention to detail were all points which must be provided by the individual himself. Knowledge could be offered to him from the outside, and it was here that his partner and himself considered that the funds of a joint stock company could be most usefully applied. Therefore they were sparing neither money nor pains so that no settler on that estate at all events should fail for want of experience or advice. It was one of the general aims of the Company that anyone should at all times be able to avail himself of the benefits of its organisation and experience, whether with regard to poultry keeping, fruit, flower and vegetable culture, agriculture or stock keeping, the erection of houses, the purchase of material or the sale of his produce, and at the same time be free to act on his own initiative. The Company had a jam factory to save him from the fluctuations of the fresh fruit market, a bacon factory for the benefit of his pigs, a market garden worked as a demonstration garden in sets applicable to small holders, and a poultry farm showing the system in operation in the United States. From the farm could be obtained horse hire and implements for the heavier cultivation which would save a man from investing his own capital in tose directions; the Company also provided a store where he could obtain all the necessities of his household, not to mention the Village Hall where by means of a drill club, he could learn to defend his home, and where (partly by the assistance of the Kent Education Committee) lectures on suitable subjects were held during the winter. All these things were really of more value to the existing small holder, but Mr Humphrey and he (the speaker) had thought whether they could increase the scope of assistance they were holding out and offer it to people who, while yearning for the land, desired to know more about the subject before they relinquished their present occupations. They had therefore made arrangement to start 3 months' course of instruction in the poultry industry, commencing by correspondence and concluding with practical work on the farm; and he explained that this method, it was hoped, would be of the greatest assistance to some of the thousands of soldiers and sailors who presently, owing to the result of wounds, sickness or other causes, would be unable to continue in the Army or follow their previous occupations. As a beginning they hoped to give a free course to a limited number of such ex-members of the services and be able to find them, there or elsewhere, permanent employment. The Company hoped that ladies and gentlement in other parts of the country would assist in that scheme by offering employment to soldiers and sailors thus prepared for the duties. It would be seen therefore that that conference really marked an epoch in the progress of the Company's policy, and they hoped it would be followed by others on market gardening or other sciences connected with the cultivation of the land. Mr Hooley followed with an informative address, and in the evening gave a lantern lecture. The visitors were hospitably entertained by the Company, and spent a pleasant and informative time."
According to a local journal, a farm labourer at Hartley, Kent, captured a military balloon, but the only reward he received for his bravery has been ridicule. Whilst at work he heard voices overhead, enquiring the position of Hartley. At once, imagining that enemies were upon him, he asked "Are you Germans?" "Yes" replied the occupants of the balloon in chorus, whereupon Hodge at once seized the rope hanging from the aircraft and secured it round a telephone post, and made off for help. The occupants however, were British soldiers, who were forced to deflate the balloon and return by rail!
On leaving Gravesend Central Station you will probably wish to spend some time in exploring the picturesque purlieus of the town. The narrow High Street and the riverside district are full of character.
You will pick up the walk by returning to the ain road that runs parallel wiht the river, then either walk or (better still) take the tram ot Northfleet Church. Getting off here, go through the churchyard left of the building and, turning left when out of it, another path will be found that continues to Springhead. At first it is not inviting. But it soon improves, and runs alongside the stream running down from Springhead.
When you come at last to a road there is an open path opposite which should be noted as continuing the walk.
But you may care first to turn a few yards to the right and get some light refreshments at the house beyond, which is famous for its fare and is much patronised by the Gravesend folk. It has pleasant gardens, watercress beds, a monkey house, an ancient giant of a willow tree, and bubbling waters of the spring that gives the place its name; in all sufficient attractions to make it almost worthy to adopt the phrase of Rosherville Gardens as its motto: The Place to spend a happy day.
But suppose we get on with the walk. Take the aforesaid path and continue along it to a crossroad. The follow the Betsham road rightwards (sign-posted) to that hamlet at another crossroads.
Here turn to the left and go up the Longfield and Fawkham Road, through hopfields and apple orchards, till you reach the next crossroad at the oddly picturesque corner by the thatched public house, the Old Wheatsheaf.
A land of small holdings
Turn to the right past this a little way to a stile on the left, and over it, take the left path forward and down to the road in the valley below. If you like to follow the indicated route on the map from this point to Fawkham church, which I took, it will be easy to pick up.
The path is signposted from the lane ahead. But I do not advise it. There is little of interest at Fawkham Church, and the land between it and Hartley, to the Black Lion, is cut up in small holdings. However flourishing these may be they do not add to the beauty of the landscape.
It is better to turn along the road leftwards, instead of going on to Fawkham church (The SE and C Railway station lies to the right as you pass the Railway Hotel).
Note when just beyond the second right turning, a signposted footpath on the left ('To Southfleet'). This rises sharply up an unfenced, stiffish hillside, almost opposite Longfield Church in the valley.
A good view point
This path is to be followed. It commands fine views when the crest of the hill is reached, over rolling fields, orchards, and in the distance the river.
It ends at length in a rough cart track. By turning left along this and keeping forward on reaching a road with a better surface, you will come into the very pleasing and pretty village of Southfleet.
A fine grey old church, many gabled ancient cottage, and wide branched trees combine to make Southfleet one of the prettiest villages in Kent.
With a look at the map you will be able to see how to reach Southfleet Station, or to return via Springhead by footpath from the churchyard here.
But my route was to leave the church and follow the land that dips downhill past the Ship Inn and then rises to another lane that opposes it. By turning right here for a little way you will pick up a path on the left (an obvious continuation of another on the right) that leads into Perry Street, a hamlet of Gravesend.
Then, keeping forward by the continuing rough road, and following the same direction when in town, you will come to the tramlines, and can so rach the Central Station. For the curious in gastronomy, Gravesend natives (freshly boiled shrimps) are to be had in the little shops in West Street.
And, mind you, they are not to be despised eaten with thin brown bread and butter and lashings of hot tea at the end of a 12 to 14 mile walk, such as this, through Kentish orchards, hop gardens and cornfields.
Outward: Victoria, Charing Cross etc to Gravesend, 3 shillings return. Or (a cheaper route) from Fenchurch Street, 1s 9d return, including ferry, whichever is convenient.
[The article includes a map and pictures of Southfleet Church, Cottages and the Wheatsheaf Pub]
Several summonses under the Lighting Order were heard at Dartford on Friday.
Percy Dennis of Hartley, was summonsed at the person in charge for not keeping the lights at the Hartley Social Club's premises effectively shaded on July 18th. Harold Bare and Albert Humphreys, two other officials of the club, were also summoned in respect of the same offence.
Police Sergeant Binfield said he saw a bright light coming from a billiard room occupied by the club. He went to the room and found Dennis and Bare playing billiards. There were 6 acetalyne lights over the table, and the windows were only shaded by linen blinds Bare told witness when the Order came in he had the blinds put up, and if they were not sufficient he would have some of darker material supplied at once. Witness replied that he would be reported.
Bare said he had no intimation from the police that the curtains were not sufficient, though they had been in use for a long time. 30 or 40 people used the room.
Humphreys, the owner, said until the officer called he had not the slightest idea the lights were not sufficiently obscured. He immediately ordered the club to be closed, and this was done. Had they been notified they would have covered the windows at once.
The case was dismissed.
Annie Sales, Minchin Cottage, Hartley Road, was charged with a similar offence on the 19th and pleaded guilty.
Police Sergeant Binfield said he saw a light pass the front door and go upstairs lighting 4 windows. He told defendant there was too much light, and she put the light out in all but one window, and that was darkened by a cloth.
Mrs Sales said she had to have a light for the baby.
Defendant's husband, it was stated, had enlisted, and she and a sister occupied the house.
Fined 5 shillings.
The guests, by the bye, were hospitably entertained, and over the tea tables several complimentary speeches were made, in the course of which it was hinted that a course of poultry instruction in Braille was in contemplation, and that very likely several of the blind soldiers would be taken on at Fairby for further training."
This charming little property occupies a very attractive situation on high ground, overlooking one of the prettiest rural districts. Only ¼ mile from station, village and church; 3 reception and 5 bedrooms, bathroom (h & c), and usual offices; motor garage and other out-buildings; tennis lawn and spinney; with well stocked gardens of about 1 acre. For further particulars address 'Owner' as above.
[The advert contains a good picture of the house. The Gables is on Ash Road at the top of Hoselands Hill]
Henry Thomas Parrett, a gardener, employed by Mr Hill, at Home Cairn, said he missed the birds on Friday morning, when he found three of the fowl house doors open. An examination of the field showed the prints of hobnail boots. Prisoner's field adjoined his master's, and witness went and asked him if he had missed anything. Prisoner said 'No," but added that someone had been to his stable and let his donkey out. PS Binfield was informed, adn later on brought a pair of boots, which he compared with the footprints. Prisoner was a married man, and lived in a cottage belonging to his mistress.
Crossexamined by Mr Clinch (for the defence), witness aid he had no doubt that somebody had let prisoner's donkey out of the stable in which it was kept, because, his (witness's) daughter was present when it was found. It was a fact that hundreds of men in the neighbourhood wore hobnail boots. He was surpised to find suspicion point to the prisoner, whom he had known for some time.
PS Binfield said he went to Middle Farm, Hartley, and saw prisoner. On the premises he found prints of hobnail boots similar to those he had seen in the field from which the birds were missing. Witness asked prisoner to show him his boots, and they corresponded with the prints. Prisoner suggested counting the nails, and this witness did, and found the number to be 13, with one blank space. There were not tips on the heels. The boots also had blood and feathers on them. Prisoner said he got the blood on his boots when he cut his thumb the previous day, but on being shown the alleged place witness replied, 'that did not bleed yesterday.' Prisoner said, 'You don't doubt me do you?' Witness replied 'I have not finished with you yet', whereupon prisoner said 'I told you a lie about the blood on my boots, I had the nose bleed yesterday.' Witness said 'Where?' and prisoner said 'While I was rolling the lawn'. Witness said 'Let us go and see where,' but prisoner replied 'It was raining at the time, and the blood was washed away.' The blood on the boots was congealed, and had got on to the boots while they were dry.
Cross examined by Mr Clinch, witness said he examined prisoner's house, but found no traces of missing birds.
In reply to Inspector Burbridge, witness said that the boots were hob-nailed in a very peculiar way. The prints had 14 nails on one foot and 13 on the other, with a blank space corresponding with a place on the boots where one nail had worn down.
Mr Clinch submitted that there was not enough evidence to hang a dog upon, and that the actions of the prisoner in assisting the police were the actions of an honest man.
Prisoner, in the box, said he scratched his thumb on Friday, adn had the nose bleed on Saturday. The sergeant had said that there were 14 nails on one boot and 13 on the other, and that those corresponded with the prints in the field, but only 13 nails were to be seen in each boot on Sunday. He nailed the boots himself, and he knew absolutely nothing about the theft.
Examined by Inspector Burbridge. He could not explain why the blood was washed off the lawn, but not off his boots.
Prisoner was convicted and fined £3, or one month's imprisonment."