Norman Swindlehurst

BlacksmithBlacksmith, © W.R. Mitchell and
the University of Bradford Special Collections

Norman Swindlehurst lived and farmed at Brackengarth Farm in Keasden, in the Ribble Valley. His father James Swindlehurst, who suffered from rheumatic fever, had moved from Barrow-in-Furness to the healthier countryside of Keasden in 1896. The family kept a few calves and reared sheep on the moors on the 40-acre farm at Brackengarth from 1896 until they moved to bigger farms in 1932.

Norman Swindlehurst was interviewed many times by Bill Mitchell, who wrote not only an article in the Dalesman in 1982, but also a book, ‘Brackengarth’, detailing Norman's memories of life on the farm at Keasden. In this interview Norman Swindlehurst describes life and leisure between the wars in Keasden, including detailed descriptions of farming, weddings, cooking, sheep salving and social events. He also describes clog-making in great detail and one of the sidelines of the local blacksmith: teeth extraction!