Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
in Victorian times
  Changes in farming methods

Before the 19th Century, fields were ploughed using a team of horses or of oxen. By Victorian times, steam engines were being used on many farms for threshing and other work.
A few wealthier estates even used steam as a source of power to pull the plough, winching it across the field by a series of cables.

Click here for more about some of these old methods.
the old way
Horse plough As well as being a far quicker way of working, steam ploughing also meant that the horses previously used to pull the plough could be used for other tasks.
Techniques for harvesting crops had remained virtually unchanged for hundreds of years until the Victorian age.

Using a

a horse
(far right)

The crop would Using a scythe be cut with scythes and sickles, the sheaves were tied up in bundles and left to dry, and then piled up to form hay ricks or stored in barns. Women and children would often be involved in this work.
In Victorian times, people working with sickles and scythes were gradually replaced by the horse-drawn reaper and the reaper-binder.
Shoeing a horse

With the reaper-binder, one man and two horses could do the same amount of work in one hour that a scytheman could manage in a whole day. In the farm barns, corn would ripen and be threshed. Before the 19th Century, threshing was done by hand by a team of people. In Victorian times, again farming methods changed to speed up the process, and machines began to carry out the work of threshing.
There is a little more information on some of the old farming methods on the next page...

More about old ways and implements...


You can see from any of the Victorian school Log Books used on our website that children were always missing lessons because they were needed to help out on the farms.
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