Many will know the building on the far side of the Green between the Children’s Playground and the allotment entrance called Redland Green Farm. The photograph, which is about 100 years old, shows how little the building has changed, although all else around is different.
The earliest local plans from 1811 show a building in this location. From about 1840 we have more information from the Tithes Commission records: the farm comprised about 28 acres which is more or less the area bounded by the stream in the middle of the allotments, Cranbrook Road, Kersteman Road and Redland Court Road. It was primarily a dairy farm as there were two cowsheds: one behind Dugar Walk and the other in the kink in the north-east edge of the Sports Field. Just in case you think that the farmer was keeping away from smelly animals, there were five pig-styes behind the farmhouse.
At the time of the photograph, the farmer was William Biggs and the original is clear enough to read the writing on the shed advertising the Dairy and Cream Teas. It is believed that the Biggs family left the farm about 1910 following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease. They were then connected with the Biggs Dairy at Henbury. It could be that there was also a connection with the Mrs Biggs who ran a dairy on Lower Redland Road opposite the Shakespeare in 1919. However by then the farmer was William Silas Ball. His daughter was at school with Joan Wakefield who is still a member of the congregation.
It is not clear when the farm ceased agriculturally. By the early 1920’s the fields were being used for sports purposes and by 1930 most of the present building had been completed with St Oswalds Road and the area by Chapel Green Lane. One problem in trying to trace occupancy of the farm is that those compiling Kelly’s Directory did not recognise that it existed!