Catalogue description The Records of Priestley Farm, Flitwick

This record is held by Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service

Details of Z 908
Reference: Z 908
Title: The Records of Priestley Farm, Flitwick

This collection contains notebooks, account books and daybooks, documenting the market gardening and farming carried out at Priestley, Continued overleaf Biggleswade and Hillcote Farm, Maulden, during the first half of the 20th Century. The telephone books (see Z 908/3/1-14) not only contain information of trading trends, vegetable prices and weather, but cast an interesting light on trading conditions in London during World War Two.




Z 908/1 Farming and Market Gardening Notebooks. 1926 - 1947


Z 908/2 Farm and Market Gardening Accounts. 1926 - 1963


Z 908/3 Telephone Books. 1931 - 1964


Z 908/4 Wholesale Business, Borough Market, London. 1945 - 1959


Z 908/5 Memorabilia and Other Material. 1943 - 1952


Z 908/6 Property. 1930s - 1954

Date: 1926-1964
Held by: Bedfordshire Archives & Records Service, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Priestly Farm, Flitwick

Physical description: 6 series
Immediate source of acquisition:

Acc. 7748


The records of Priestley Farm, Flitwick, Bedfordshire, were deposited in the County Record Office on 3rd June 1996, by Mrs. Mary Roberts (daughter of Walter Cole), Pond Cottage, Rockley, Marlborough, Wiltshire, SN8 1 RT. An additional deposit was made by Mrs. Susan Pratt (daughter of R.P. Cole), 4 Mill Lane, Greenfield, Flitwick, MK45 5DF, on 22nd October 1996. Mrs. Mary Roberts made two further deposits in February and July 1999.

  • Flitwick, Bedfordshire
Unpublished finding aids:

See Farm of my Childhood (1925-1947) by Mary Roberts (130 FLI), which is partly based on these records. See also Micf 80 for records of Priestley Farm (microfiche copies of the notebook on movement of animals and the cropping book).

Administrative / biographical background:

Walter Cole and family rented Priestley farm (almost 300 acres in size) from 1914 onwards. The family also farmed at Biggleswade, and R.P. Cole farmed at Hillcote Farm, Maulden, where the light soil was particularly suitable for market gardening. Various crops (mostly vegetables) were grown - cabbage, parsley, marrows, mangles, potatoes, peas, beans, beetroot, brussels sprouts, lucerne (a green feed for cattle), wheat, oats, barley etc.


They also ran a wholesale business in the Borough Market, London. Alfred Cole and his son Walter had started the enterprise in the late 1800's. The produce sold there came from other growers in the surrounding area and from the Coles' own farms, At first the produce was sent to London via the railway. Lorries were later introduced by Walter Cole.


Acres of peas were grown at Priestley and local women were employed for the picking season. A ticket was issued to the picker when a bag or box of peas was weighed in. The ticket could be cashed in at the end of each day or week (see Z 908/5/1).

Link to NRA Record:

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