The Story Of Old Joe
Old Joe was born in 1882 and lived in an old wooden shack on the site of the present house, which was built at the turn of the last century. It was originally a smaller dwelling; the front railings were wrought iron, which was stripped away during the war and used by the armouries.
Old Joe's house was part of the old village of Meppershall, which was known as 'The Glass City' because there were 22 small holding nurseries in the village, all family-run businesses, supplying horticultural produce, mainly salad crops to nationwide wholesale markets such as Covent Garden and Spitalfields.
Old Joe was a recluse, and each day he rode his old bike up to Polehanger Farm where he worked as a horse and ploughman. He wore trousers tied up with string to stop the rats crawling up his legs! Old Joe worked on the farm throughout his working life, even after the farm was sold to its current owners in 1941. He grew Currants, Raspberries, Gooseberries and Apples. Raspberries are still grown today and can be enjoyed by guests in our home-made jams. Rumour has it that Old Joe was fond of a drink and no-one was surprised when he fell out of the upstairs window. He was, however, quite sober at the time - he fell out while cleaning the sash windows!
In the 1900's the children of Meppershall would get up at "sparrowfart" (which means the crack of dawn), go to their family nurseries and load the boxes of produce onto trucks ready to be taken to the markets. After a good breakfast and the paper rounds, they would then walk or cycle to the local schools before returning home to the nurseries to pick and pack more produce ready for the next day.