Farmer Moving South
Great Broughton Village Hall
Film and Talk
Friday 17th January 2014 7.30 pm
Ian Pearce of Gt Ayton Local History Society showed the film “Farmer moving south – a winter journey” and then expanded on the background to the film, which he had researched. The result was a fascinating evening which made the film itself far more interesting.
The film showed the owner of White House Farm, Skutterskelfe, moving all the machinery and all the livestock of his farm as well as household goods and furniture by train from Stokesley Station to Hartfield Station in Sussex and then taking over Perryhill Farm, Sussex, which was a similar acreage to White House Farm. The move took place in 1950 in December and there was snow throughout the journey, which was overnight and took 18hrs 30 mins. 50 wagons were needed and the train was divided into 2 at some point on the journey, the second half following later. The film was a British Transport Film narrated by A G Street and released in 1952.
Ian had managed to identify many of the people in the film and it transpired that the farm was part of the Skutterskelfe estate, owned by the Ropner family of shipbuilders and shipowners, and the farmer was no ordinary North Yorkshire farmer but Bob Ropner, a member of the family. The farm bailiff was Henry Hill who was the only employee from North Yorkshire to move permanently south with the farm. He and his family settled in the south and stayed there even after Bob Ropner gave up farming in 1954. Bob Ropner then started a catering business, but it had little success and he re-
Ian then told us the fascinating history of the Ropner family and how the original Sir Robert Ropner (full name Emil Hugo Oscar Robert Ropner 1838-
There were many questions which Ian was happy to answer and the evening was highly entertaining and informative.