Teenagers ran Thorpe Acre farm as dad oversaw them
“UNCLE Wilfred was a kind and gentle man and nothing ever seemed too much trouble, there was always laughter around him.”
Can you remember Barnett’s farm in Thorpe Acre?
Looking Back readers have been in touch with their memories of Mr Wilfred Barnett and his farm, and his niece has been in touch with her memories of the place.
Mr Barnett’s farm featured in Looking Back a few weeks ago when a former farmhand got in touch and told the infamous tale of the bull that escaped and ran riot in Loughborough cattle market.
Ruth Clift, 78, who now lives in Uttoxeter, but was born in Diseworth, is the niece of Wilf and she said that her uncle was one of 11 children.
She said he had seven brothers (Robert and Christopher - who were twins - Bertram, Oliver, Cecil, Bernard and Sydney) and three sisters (Mabel, Marion and Hilda) and that him and his brother Sydney (Ruth’s father) were often confused because they looked so alike.
Ruth said that Wilf and Sydney were sent by their father, along with their elder sister Mabel to run the farm at Thorpe Acre when they were in their early teens, and that their father would come to oversee their work because at the time he lived at Burton on the Wolds on a farm there.
Ruth said that Wilf And Sydney’s brother, Bernard Barnett, was part of the Royal Artillery in World War One and was killed in France in 1917.
When he died Ruth said that her father and Wilf thought that one of them should go and replace him at war, so they flipped a coin and her brother won, so he signed up and went to fight in France.
Ruth said that she was brought up in Diseworth on Old Hall Farm. She said that the farm once belonged to her grandfather, and then when her father married her mum (Elsie Cordell) they took over the farm.
She said that her mother was born on Lockington Grange farm, which is now East Midlands Airport, and that she learned to drive a car on the old runways at Lockington Grange.
Ruth also said that the famous racing driver Reg Parnell used to keep his racing cars in an abandoned hangar on the farm, and that she could hear him tearing around the racing track there after the war.
Going back to her uncle Wilf she said: “Wilf and Sydney looked very much alike, there was only 15 months between them.
“They sometimes got mixed up, as in the case of a man trying to pay my dad for a load of straw that he had bought from Wilf.
“It was only resolved when Sydney took the man to Wilf in The Golden Fleece in Loughborough town centre, where they used to meet for a pint on cattle market days.”
Ruth said that Wilfred and Ethel (his wife) also ran a milk round in Loughborough from Thorpe Acre, and that she loaned one of the ponies after the closure of the round.
She said: “There used to be a tennis court at Thorpe Acre farm and we used to play there a lot, and were well entertained afterwards. It was always fun to visit with very warm hospitality.
“Uncle Wilfred was a kind and gentle man and nothing ever seemed too much trouble, there was always laughter around him.”
Councillor Roy Campsall, from Loughborough, also told Looking Back about his memories of Mr Barnett, and said that him and his family used to rent out Mr Barnett’s mobile caravan in Lincolnshire for family holidays.
Roy said that that himself, his dad, Wilf Campsall, and mum, Anne Campsall, along with his brothers, Steven and Robert, would go to the caravan in Anderby Creek, and that they would love going on holiday there.
He said that Mr Barnett would drive all the family to caravan, and then would come and pick them up when it was time for them to go home.
He said: “Mr Barnett was a lovely man, and was always so kind to me and all my family and I can still remember that he had the farm in Thorpe Acre until the 60s.”
Do you remember Mr Barnett or any of his brothers and sisters? Maybe you used to go to the farm, or used to work on it? If you know anything more about Barnett’s farm in Thorpe Acre please contact Liam Coleman on 01509 635806 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pictured is Wilfred and Ethel Barnett (nee Cotton) on their wedding day (centre). On the left is Hilda Barnett (sister of Wilfred) and on the right, best man Sydney Barnett (brother) and to his right Daisy Barnett who was married to Bertram Barnett.
Pictured is Ruth’s father, Sydney Barnett in his military uniform.
Pictured is the back of the photo of Robert and Christopher with the address of J. Lowe photographers. The photo states that J. Lowe had a photography studio at 50 Baxter Gate, Loughborough. Do you remember J. Lowe? Or know anything more about the...
Pictured are Wilf Barnett’s twin brothers, Robert (left) and Christopher (right) Barnett, taken by Loughborough photographer J. Lowe.