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Why was Swanwick Station the busiest station in England for a few weeks each year in the 1930's, and why did this cease to be the case?

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Introduction

Why Was Swanwick Station the busiest station in England for a few weeks each year in the 1930's, and why did this cease to be the case? Introduction To The Strawberry Industry The strawberry industry was the farming and distribution of the finest strawberries in Hampshire. In this project I will explain why Swanwick station was the busiest in England in the 1930's. I will also explain why the strawberry industry developed and declined, and how these events changed life around the area. This area I will be researching is Swanwick, Locks Heath, Warsash and Ticthfield. I will do this by visiting each of these sites and taking photographs. I will also be looking for places that have some significance to the industry such as Swanwick station, or old pubs etc. I am hoping to find out more about the strawberry industry in the 1930's, and I will hope to find out why the industry built up so fast, but declined just as fast. The Site Today Today, the site has clues as to how important the industry was. For example, MOJ Engineering is a building which used to be a basket factory, at the top of Duncan Road in Swanwick. ...read more.

Middle

Because picking was hard, thirsty work, the local off-licence would supply a firkin of beer (about 9 gallons) everyday to each field throughout the season. The workers would receive a glass after 1000 baskets of strawberries had been picked. The fruit from the area was known in the trade as "Southamptons" and was soon recognised as been of a superior quality to that of competitors in Cornwall. The first variety of berry grown in the area was known as the "Maud" and was about the size of a thimble. Later came the "Joey" or "Paxtons", short for Sir Joseph Paxton who was the producer of this strain, being much larger then the "Maud" and was considered by many experts to be the most delicious berry ever grown. Later servicemen from the Great War returned to look for jobs, and found strawberry growing to be the most suitable, as it would earn them sufficient amounts to support a family for the whole of the year. During the season, Swanwick was over-flowing with the horses and carts which transported the strawberries from the fields to the station. Strawberry Hill was a road in which they travelled by, as you can tell by the name. ...read more.

Conclusion

This was a problem for local growers as with this competition, they weren't getting the money they needed to support their families. Around this time (30's/early 40's) air transport was developing, so England was experiencing foreign strawberries. The growth of supermarkets instead of small fruit markets meant they needed "perfect" strawberries, and with all the problems in the area, the standards declined. Along with the developing supermarkets, the land originally used for crops was being increased to build houses on. By the 1940's the trend was general produce such as potatoes and tomatoes (for the rationing during the war.) However this growth of produce continued after the war and competed against strawberry growers. 1949 was particularly bad for them as Nurseries were developing all round the district with vast areas under glass. "Locks Heath Nurseries" boasted the largest greenhouse in Hampshire given over to the cultivation of tomatoes. To Conclude... Looking back to the 40 boom years or so from the 1870's Locks Heath has been established all because of their strawberries. Nowadays they are associated with the recent phenomenon of "pick your own." There are few memories left from this time, such as the station, and the basket factory etc, but the seasonal frenzied activity which included every citizen of Locks Heath, young and old, every year are now long since over. ...read more.

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