1887 - New farming families

The Maidments arrived in Wilcot from Somerset in 1887. They took over Manor Farm from the previous tenants, the Redmans. The Redmans appear to have failed.

There had been a run of poor harvests; and by the 1870s better-quality wheat was being transported from the American prairies on the new US railways and then shipped in huge quantities on the new steam ships plying the Atlantic. Farming was in crisis across Britain, and about a quarter of the grain-growing area disappeared.

The Maidments had been dairy farmers in Somerset, and by the 1880s, the new railways from the Pewsey Vale to London enabled dairy farmers to get fresh milk to the London market every day. Before that, cows had had to be kept in the city, often underground, with their feed transported to them on slow wagons; but the fast railways meant the cows could live in the countryside, and their milk be transported fresh to the city. This photo shows empty milk churns returned from London to Woodborough station in about 1890: