Memories of Fazeley, written by Joseph T. Hunter in August 2008 when he was 88 years old.

Horses in Early 20th Century Fazeley

A few of the better off people in the village had a pony and trap and would drive out into the country lanes with their families on a warm country evening.

There were horses everywhere other than those working the canals, in the village there were horses pulling timber, coal, bread, meat, vegetables and the huge brewery horses from Bass of Burton bringing beer to the nine premises that sold alcohol in Fazeley.

Milkmen carried their milk in big polished metal churns in open carts and had various measures to fill your jugs.

Life was full of incidents. In our street, the milkman, Mr Eckhert, was delivering milk when a neighbour of ours accused him of making eyes at his wife and tipped a full churn of milk into the gutter.

In 1926, a very warm summer, a neighbour of ours who had put his hand to most things, baker, billposter, poultry keeper, coach driver and horse doctor, was asked to look at some 30 horses in a field along the Fazeley road. Men practised as vets but were unlicensed, actually horse doctors, our neighbour was one and he attended these huge shire horses, some horses had sores and were troubled by flies.

On one visit, planks were laid on the grass and I, a boy of six was told to look away while the horses were dispatched.

On one occasion they hoisted me up on to one of the huge shire horses and I rode him through the village to a field next to the cricket pitch. I learned later that these horses were from the breweries at Burton and at that time it was the General Strike and after that the breweries started to use lorries.

In the summer cows and sheep would be driven through the streets from Lichfield. One could see them from afar and all gates would be closed for if one sheep found an opening, all the flock would follow. The winters were hard and the pools and canals would freeze over. People would skate on the Mill Pond at Fazeley.

The canal company had an ice breaking horse drawn boat which carried six men. It had a central bar the length of the boat and the men would rock the boat to break the ice, so that the barges carrying coal to Birmingham could get through.