Step back in time with Hornton history over Bank Holiday weekend

Ian Harris, in 20s dress with his locally made Levis motorcycle, dating from 1921, Lorna Abbott, Julia Whitby and Jo Langton
Ian Harris, in 20s dress with his locally made Levis motorcycle, dating from 1921, Lorna Abbott, Julia Whitby and Jo Langton

Historians in Hornton will stage an ambitious Bank Holiday weekend event to focus on four centuries of crafts, trades and working habits.

The fascinating spotlight on the past – The Way We Were – has been two years in the making .

It will feature new research, live demonstrations, an old-time cinema and a number of vintage vehicles owned by villagers including a Bedford bus, truck and several vintage motorcycles.

There will also be a village trail offering insights into 32 historic places, detailing who used to live there in centuries past and what those people did for a living.

Focusing on the past 400 years of the villagers’ working lives The Way We Were charts the resourceful villagers whose skills ranged from hat making and haircutting to joinery, masonry, metalworking and fuel supply.

Leading the project, on behalf of Hornton History Group, are curators Chris Woodcock and Laurie Furneaux.

They and their team have compiled a wealth of original research, sourcing artefacts from current and past villagers, to capture bygone working customs and skills, some now distant memories or lost forever, and track them to the present day.

Laurie said: “For centuries, Hornton was pretty remote. Its working families had to withstand poverty and overcome hardships, eking out vital resources to make life tolerable.

“They thrived on ingenuity and self-sufficiency: they either developed their own skills and trades, handing them down the generations, or harnessed the land to meet their daily needs.”

She added: “Life was harsh and simple: if they couldn’t grow it, rear it, build it or make it then they didn’t need it.”

Chris said: “We’ve been able to compile a magazine, based on old documents, photographs and numerous anecdotes from people who grew up here in the first part of the last century and later.

“We owe huge thanks to all who have provided insights and artefacts, helping us to create this social history archive for future generations and enjoy numerous fascinating glimpses of how life was.”

The free event runs from 12 to 5pm daily, August 26 to 28 centred at the Pavilion.