Shortwood Farm


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SHORTWOOD FARM, adjacent to Weights Farm and Brockhill Farm, was tenanted by Joe Beckett from January 1939 until 1946 when, following his part in the purchase of the Hewell Estate, he moved with his wife Janie and their daughter Elizabeth into the Home Farm at Hewell. During the war years Italian prisoners of war were employed on the farm.

Joe Beckett was one of four brothers who became farmers.

The owner of the farm was Mr Kunzle who lived at Ley Hill House nearby. Previous tenants had failed in the running of the farm, but Joe Beckett, through his hard work and enterprise, made a success out of his farming. He built up a dairy herd and started a milk round in the neighbourhood, and he marketed poultry, eggs and potatoes. He also built a piggery using offcut timber obtained free-of-charge from Vincent's timber yard in Selly Oak.

From 1946 to 1953 Shortwood, now owned by Joe Beckett, was farmed by Noel Arculus, who lived at the farm until 1949 when he moved to live and also farm at Butlers Hill Farm.

Source: A Hundred Years In Tardebigge – The Revd Alan White


LITTLE SHORTWOOD was a small farm of some 9 acres only, and its mid seventeenth century farmhouse may have been originally a gamekeeper's cottage. By 1900 it was probably a subsidiary of nearby Oxleasowes Farm, There are none of the usual farm buildings there except pigsties. As late as the 1950 the house was without mains electricity or gas. After several accidents using oil lamps a wind-powered electric lighting system was instaled. The source of power was a dynamo coupled to a twin bladed wooden propeller which, using a tailpiece, rotated to face the wind. It was mounted on top of a 40 feet high wooden pole with side brackets which, like those on traditional telegraph poles, could be used to climb up to access the apparatus. Two aerial wires connected the dynamo to 12 volt batteries in one of the bedrooms, and these charged the batteries which were wired to 23 light bulbs throughout the house and also supplied electric current to a wireless set. This humble innovation was a forerunner of today's wind turbines. It remained in use until mains electricity arrived in 1965.

Source: A Hundred Years In Tardebigge – The Revd Alan White