A LETTER in our November 20th edition, sent in by Ron Durrant of Salisbury, referred to a long-gone farm in Oakham, near Dudley.
Hadley's Farm, Mr Durrant believed, was run by two brothers, from what he could remember of it during the war years, when he was still at school.
Reader Ray Hadley of Dudley was very interested in that letter, as he is one of the Hadley family. The farm was known as Lye Cross Farm, and Ray's father Fred was one of the large family who grew up there. The children included, in order from eldest first, Sam, Arthur, Tom, May, Ike, Ben, Fred and Ada. There were also a step brother and sister, the boy being another Sam, but Ray doesn't recall the name of his step-aunt. Rather than being run by two brothers, Ray tells us that at the time Mr Durrant mentions the farm was run by Ben and Ada, two of the younger siblings, as most of the older ones had married and gone on to other things. The farm was well known locally for its deliveries of milk from the back of a horse-drawn float.
The farm was eventually sold off and the Lye Cross housing estate was built on the site. The remaining family moved into a house on City Road.
Ray has lent us a photograph of his father Fred in the garden with his dog at Lye Cross Farm, taken in the nineteen-twenties. Fred is also shown, around the same time, with his friends in their best bib and tucker, enjoying a game of bowls. Fred is the one at far left. It's not known who the others were, though some of them may have been Fred's brothers. And if that's a bowling green, it's not a very flat one - perhaps the picture was taken at Lye Cross Farm?
The third picture shows the eldest brother Sam, with his wife next to him, much later on in 1962.