Making Work for the Working Man

Workers in the market gardens had to provide their own boots, coats and gloves. Typical hours were 7.00 until 5.00 during the week and from 8.00 until 12.00 on Saturday mornings. During the summer, overtime was compulsory so workers often started early and continued late into the evening.

The lucky few graduated to skilled jobs, such as grafting trees, but for most, the work was heavy, back-breaking and often cold. A horse was able to pull a small plough between orchard trees, but most jobs were done manually. Boilers in the greenhouses had to be stoked with coke and outside there was always weeding, raking and stone-picking to be done.

Even though working days were long and pay was poor, there was great camaraderie amongst the workers, and some men were employees for life. Ernest (Nip) Henson (1893-1961) worked for three generations of Pynes for over 40 years, starting in 1910. He served in France as a Private in the Devon Regiment during the First World War, was awarded the Military Medal for bravery, and returned to Pynes in 1918.

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