The cider trade

As well as growing hops to brew beer, the Three Counties were famous for the cider and perry that came from the apple and pear orchards in the area.

This interview with Mr Savage, the fruitgrower, was made for the Midland Montage section of ATV Midlands News in 1960.  It gives an insight into orchard practices of the time, and some of the Wassail customs.


Tales from the Vale of apple picking and cider making

The speakers in this audio clip were recorded during 2016-2017 by Julia Letts, oral historian, for Tales of the Vale, an HLF-funded oral history project in South Gloucestershire.

Nothing Like the Old Cider

This wonderful soundscape also comes from The Forgotten Landscape project, just down the road from our Gloucestershire orchards.  You’ll want to listen with a cider in your hand…

The blog article lists of the contributors – singers, speakers and cider-makers all.

Soundscape: Nothing Like the Old Cider


Memories of George Wright of Earl’s Croome, 1955

In this recording, George Wright recalls how much cider he and his fellow farm workers would drink in a day whilst working in the orchards in Earl’s Croome and Pirton near Pershore.  Clue: It’s a lot!

He also tells an anecdote about being paid in three-penny bits because the farmer hadn’t enough large coins.

George was born in 1881 and was 74 when he was interviewed.

Memories of Stan Timbrell and Charlie Long, Gloucestershire, 1956

In an interview in 1956 with Stan Timbrell (b.1900, publican), and Charlie Long (b.1881, retired gamekeeper), Stan Ellis tries to get to the bottom of how much cider local workmen would drink, particularly during the hot harvest days when they mowed the hay by hand.

The interview was carried out at Slimbridge, which explains the loud sounds of geese and ducks in the background.

Stanley Ellis carried out both of these interviews for the Survey of English Dialects.  The recordings are now part of the British Library’s online Sound Archive.


Memories of George Lloyd of Weobley, 1955

George Lloyd describes to Stanley Ellis the process of making cider using a stone cider mill powered by horse. 

He describes the location of the cider mill in Weobley village, and how Sam the Horse used to enjoy the cider pressing.  If Sam was left alone in the chase harness, he used to stop winding the mill and lick the cider bowl instead!

George also describes the technique for laying and maintaining a hedge.  He doesn’t give his age, but he sounds elderly and had probably retired by the date of the recording.

This recording was made in 1955 for the Survey of English Dialects.  The recordings are now part of the British Library’s online Sound Archive..