Victorian Powys for primary  schools
Powys Digital History Project
in Victorian times
  Cattle in the streets on market days  

In Victorian times most market towns held the regular livestock markets in one of the main streets, and cattle had to be kept in separate groups. Proper cattle markets with pens for the stock came later, and most school Log Books tell of children absent from school on market days.
The extract below written by a teacher at Llanyre National School complains of children missing school because they were minding cattle -


"The children are required to stand by the cattle all day while the parents "have business" inside. The poor children, who generally get a thorough wetting while parents are getting little, are not in a fit state for school the rest of the week and often longer".

Many old photographs of street livestock markets show children minding the cattle - while the farmers were "doing business", or having a few drinks - in one of the local inns. These were always very busy on market days !

Boys minding cattle

Local markets in Powys were important not just for the farmers buying and selling their produce. Many craftsmen would come in to the towns on market day, because people selling things at market would have money to buy craft goods.
The decline of the use of horses in the later years of the Victorian age, as machines took over many of their functions, meant that many crafts associated with horses declined as well. This resulted in less work for the local blacksmith and for saddle and harness makers.

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