Recording of the Month June 2014: Rickling Rat and Sparrow Club

Our Sound Archivist Martin Astell brings us another highlight from the Essex Sound and Video Archive…

SA 13/4/9/1

The Essex Sound and Video Archive holds a wealth of material relating to farming practices and village life before the Second World War. This recording provides us with an example of how village life was often defined by the requirements of agriculture. It is an interview with Eric Wright, whose father was the farm bailiff at Rickling Hall, and who, as a child in the 1920s and 1930s, had a part to play in controlling the numbers of vermin on the farms in the village of Rickling.

He describes the Rickling Rat and Sparrow Club which was a means of ensuring that responsibility for pest control was shared throughout the community, and also served as a social activity for the working men of the village.

This recording is not for the faint-hearted as it describes an unsentimental, or one might say brutal, approach to the trapping and killing of rats, sparrows and rooks.