May Cottage

Fred Lewington lives at May Cottage, The Street, Lt. Thurlow. He has been here for thirteen years and before that lived at Lt. Bradley where his mother and grandparents lived. His early childhood was spent in his birthplace, Chingford.

Fred started work on the farm during the war and in the fourteen years he worked on the land saw many changes. Horses were still being used and the sugar beet crop was all dealt with by hand. The first tractors had no cabs, then the fork lifts and combines came in making life much easier for the farm worker. Fred says that although the work was hard he enjoyed his fourteen years on the farm.

He then joined the forestry on the Thurlow estate when he was 28 years old and spent the rest of his working life with them. Once again he saw great changes from starting with cross-cut saws, 7 lb. axes, choppers and hooks for hedges to changing to chain saws, lifts on tractors, cranes on trailers and logging machines capable of preparing wood for fencing. Leaving the hedgerows has increased the bird population, however.

Fred drove the first hedge-cutter on the estate. It is now equipped with a cab and radio, making what had been a back-breaking job into a comparatively easy one. Fred feels lucky to have been fully employed in a village which has kept its village image. There have of course been changes, including the loss of the old characters, the Red Lion public house, the shop and the post office.