The Garden Guide

Book: Gardening tours by J.C. Loudon 1831-1842
Chapter: Middlesex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Wilshire, Dorsetshire, Hampshire, Sussex, and Kent in the Summer of 1832

Tottenham Park Wharf

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Tottenham Park Wharf. - Aug. 17. This wharf is kept by Mr. Stanley, who also rents a farm, and has a general charge, as substeward, over a considerable tract of country on Lord Aylesbury's estate. Under his care is the principal part of the cottages which have been improved by Mr. Iveson (see p. 413.). We rode to several of them with Mr. Stanley, who gave us numerous interesting details of their past, as compared with their present, state. The people are still slaves to the poor laws' system; but wretched indeed must have been their condition before they were commiserated by Mr. Iveson. In short, they were then ignorant and savage enemies of the farmers, and of every other class of men. Mr. Stanley, with the approbation of the late marchioness, introduced the four girls' schools before mentioned; but twice that number of schools, both for infants and for the youth of both sexes, are wanted. Nothing great, however, can be done, in the way of educating the poor, till a national system of instruction is established. Mr. Stanley is from the Duke of Sutherland's estates at Trentham, and has enlarged and liberal ideas upon the subject of territorial improvement. On his wharf we saw a large heap of Bath ashes; viz., the street sweepings of that city, after they have been laid in a heap, and suffered to ferment, and afterwards sifted or screened, in the manner of the poudrette at Paris. They are sold to the farmers at 4.5d. a bushel. The Newbury ashes, which are made from turf dug out of the Vale of Kennet, sell from 8d. to 4d. a bushel, according as they are more or less earthy. With the facility of procuring these ashes, and the permission to cut as much fern as they choose from the Park at Tottenham for litter, it is not to be wondered at that the farmers on this estate should raise large crops, notwithstanding their inferior system of culture. A curious practice with meadow lands was pointed out to us by Mr. Stanley. Where the soil of such grass lands is stiff, the farmers strew stubble, or dry litter, such as old thatch, and the sweepings of stack yards, slightly over it; these straws the worms draw into their holes, and in this way are supposed to fertilise the ground, and render it lighter. Mr. Stanley is convinced that this practice has a good effect; but as to how it operates he is not quite so clear.