Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Local Gates

In these days of homogenised town centres and centralised distribution, we tend to forget that not so long ago there were real local differences. Obvious ones are variations in building material such as yellow London brick or honey coloured Cotswold stone.

Out in the sticks though, these changes were even more marked. Local animals, what we'd now call "rare breeds", proliferated. So if you want to model Gloucestershire pigs, make sure they are old spots and not just standard pink porkers from the Merit stand. Cattle too varied with the most obvious local variations being the well know Highland cow with its thick coat and long horns. Fresians for example only appear across the UK in the 1950's yet I remember as a kid in the 70's thinking milk cow=black and white one. Even now they are becoming rarer as the grumpier Holstein has been bred into the bloodline for improved milk production.

What set me off thinking about this was a blog posting on The Countryman magazine web site on gates. I didn't realise that even something as simple as a gate design could vary across the country. Nowadays modern communications mean everyone can share gate technology quickly and easily. Even if they couldn't farmers don't make gates any more, they buy them in from a central supplier who in turn uses a centralised maker, so gates in Aberdeen are the same as those in Cornwall. However if we want a model to have a proper local feel then we need to find out about these variations and reflect them.

Check your gates on The Countryman blog.

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