Thursday, 6 March 2014

"...the neat uniform and genteel work of the police constable or railway porter..."

"... there is much drudgery and very little excitement about the farm servant's duties, and I believe the young men dislike the former and long for the latter. By the labourers themselves slight importance is attached to the healthy character of country life in comparison with various branches of town labour. That phase of the question sinks into insignificance in their estimation, and only the shorter hours, numerous holidays and ever present busy bustle and excitement of town life or the neat uniform and genteel work of the police constable or railway porter, are present to the mind of our young farm servant."
Royal Commission on Labour, 1893. (Quoted in Tom Devine's The Scottish Nation 1700-2007, pp 466-467.)

To have quotes and extracts similar to the above with me when I visit an abandoned farm cottage help to create stories in my mind about the last occupants. Maybe there was no sadness about leaving. Maybe there was excitement and relief. Maybe they skipped down those stairs on their last day there.

Researching the history of a place and the possible reasons for abandoning it can change the mood of the image I'm seeking. The light coming through the downstairs door and the windows in the above image - do they bring light into a sad, abandoned home or do they suggest some brighter future beyond the hard, isolated life of the farm labourer?

At the time I felt the last occupants were anxious and nervous about moving away.

Having read the above quote, does it change the mood you may have felt looking at the image?

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