The scene on entering Pirton in the year 2000 was very different from 100 years before. First impressions would have been one of an unkempt farming village, typical of many in the English midlands. The roads were rough and unmetalled, the ponds unfenced, there would be no kerbs, pavements, or street lights, no cars, road signs or street names, telegraph poles or TV aerials. Today, the village has been ‘townified’ and ‘tidied up.’ It appears to be deserted during much of the time on a weekday. But in the 1900s, it was very rural and busy, bustling with people. Houses were small and so people spent much of their time outside. Many of the men worked in the farmyards within the village, women walked about plaiting straw as they went, children played in the street, cows were driven through to be milked, and pigs ran loose. The blacksmith and wheelwright noisily plied their trades. For much of the year the place would be muddy and it is likely that the air would smell of farmyards and domestic wood fires. A characteristic of the village would have been tall trees, many of them elms, open spaces and several orchards. The visitor, instantly recognisable as a “foreigner,” would have eight shops to choose from and seven public houses in which to buy a drink.
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