Recollections ~ Parkhouse Farm Ardrossan
My mother’s grandparents, Wrights, ran Parkhouse Farm for Hogarths. My mother was born there in 1925, her younger brother and sister were also born there as were 4 of her cousins. There were then three generations, my mother’s grandparents, her parents and an aunt and uncle, and the children - 6 adults and 7 children in all. My mother’s aunt and uncle with their 4 children lived in the front room of the main Farm House, called the Big House, as did her grandparents. My mother, her parents and 2 siblings lived in what was called the Cot House, at the side of the main farm house. Mum writes
"My aunt and my mother used to help to white wash the outside of the farm buildings and help with the young cattle that Hogarth used to send down from Whitlees from time to time. I remember the cartloads of turnips that were sent down from Whitlees to feed the cattle and my mother cutting up the turnips with a large knife on a wooden chopping block that stood on the floor of the byre. Also the bales of hay and straw that came in carts and had to be stacked up in the barns. We used to have great fun playing there, as we were able to climb over the bales almost to the roof of the barn.
There were no crops grown at Parkhouse. (Willie Hogarth looked after the fields between Parkhouse and Whitlees), except in the field with the Galloway Burn running through the far end. The farm was used for the cows which were herded out to the field to graze then herded back into the byre at night. We could hear them move about in the byre when we were in bed. The "Tattie Howkers" as they were called, used to come over from Ireland every year to dig the potatoes for Hogarths and they were put up at Parkhouse in the big barn. The women slept downstairs and the men up in the loft.
The Cot House where we lived had no water or electricity. All our water had to be carried over in buckets from the tap outside the Big House. The drinking water and also the water for cooking was kept in a large enamel pail with a lid on it that sat on top of a marble topped wash stand in a small scullery where all the pots and pans were kept. All the washing up was done in there too, in a basin on the stand.
We had a large paraffin oil lamp to give us light at night and the cooking was done on a coal fire that got black leaded every week. A large kettle sat on the hob at the side of the fire filled with boiling water to make a cup of tea and there was usually a pot of soup or stew cooking there too. We only had the one big room downstairs and an attic upstairs. To get upstairs we had a heavy wooden ladder. The attic was not used when we were young as we all slept downstairs in two set-in beds. My Granny and Grandpa, in the Big House, had a lot more room than us. They had a large kitchen, used as a living room and a large scullery for washing up in and so forth. They also had two large bedrooms downstairs. Granny and Grandpa slept in one and my aunt, uncle and 4 cousins slept in the other one which was quite large. There were also three rooms upstairs which they didn’t use.
My Granny cooked on a sort of open fireplace, which had bars across the front of the fire and a hob on each side to put the pots on to simmer. She also had a big kettle, always ready to make a pot of tea. The bars of the fire were always black leaded, like ours, but the front part of each side was white washed and always looked nice and clean. She had a foot stool running across the front of the fireplace, as we did too, and the children all used to sit there. It was lovely and warm on a cold day. Granny used to make lovely soda scones and treacle scones on a gridle which hung over the fire. She used to give us some while they were still hot, spread with butter and home-made jam.
I can still see the Big House. It had stone slabs for a floor and they were scrubbed and the slabs edged around in fancy curls with pipe clay. There was a home made rag rug in front of the fireplace and an old fashioned wooden bed setee under the window. When it was opened out, it just looked like a big wooden box and the mattress fitted inside it, but it didn’t have one in it then as the younger children used to play in it. It made a good play pen. I also remember a big old fashioned dresser which held the dishes and food too also two big lion ornaments and two Wally Dugs sitting on top of it.
Across the road from the farm there were two cottages. My father’s sister, Aunt Agnes, lived in one and an elderly lady – Mrs Frew - lived in the other. She lived in one room and turned the other into a shop which sold sweets and odds and ends. Many a time we went over with our haepennies to buy sweets in a newspaper poke. When she wasn’t doing anything else Mrs Frew used to sit and make these pokes until she had stacks of them all piled up inside each other.
We were seldom away from the farm when we were young. We all just played in the farm yard and in the barns. We enjoyed ourselves. I remember my father taking us over the fields for walks on Sundays, as far as Whitlees and beyond. No houses there of course. No one left the farm much, but they didn’t have to as the butcher, baker, fruitman and milkman all came to the door with their horses and carts and the grocery order was sent out. Even the paraffin oil man came round ringing his bell. You took your can out to have it filled from a big square tank with a tap on the side. The milk man was the same too. He filled your jug with a measure which he dipped into his milk can. Although we were on a farm we didn’t have milk cows. We had plenty of eggs though as Mum kept hens.
When I was about 10 we moved away from Parkhouse as Walter Hogarth had taken over the farm and turned it into a dairy. They couldn’t have children about the place in case we became sick with something infectious and it affected the selling of the milk. After we moved out, my Granny and Grandpa moved over from the farm house to the Cot House and Granny served the customers who came in for milk, eggs, and butter. (I think there was also a manager hired.) Walter Hogarth had three horse drawn carts on the road and a van too which was used to supply milk to the schools later. My Grandpa, even in his later years, used to travel up to Whitlees with a horse and cart to bring down the milk in cans to the dairy. My Granny died about 1939, Grandpa moved in with my Mum, and her brother Tony and his family took over the dairy. Parkhouse was later sold to Ross’s Dairy.