THE HELMDON CART
Painted on the cart is the wording
"Alfred J Watts 1906 Helmdon Northants"
Photo courtesy of the Chiltern Open Air Museum
In Aspects of Helmdon no 5 Diana Burfield wrote an intriguing article about a craftsman’s notebook which she had found in a second-hand bookshop. It was a pretty little album and contained, amongst other things, sketches of designs for barrows, beds, door and window frames. There were also drawings of wagons including a “double shaft wagon for Mr Fairbrother”.
Subsequently purchased by Helmdon branch WEA the notebook can now be viewed at the Northamptonshire County Museum. There is a copy of the article and an index (historical document no:26)
Diana Burfield was unclear as to whether the owner of the craftsman’s notebook was Arthur Taylor or Alfred J Watts (they were both working in the village at the time), but she made an informed guess that it belonged to Alfred Taylor. Then, in 2007, after reading Aspects of Helmdon no 5, the Chiltern Open Air Museum made contact. It kindly gave permission for the WEA to publish the accompanying photographs of a cart which they have in their museum which bears the lettering “Alfred J Watts 1906 Helmdon Northants”. This does not yet solve the puzzle as to who wrote the craftsman’s notebook, but research is on-going.
First printed in Aspects of Helmdon No 6 (2008)
For particulars of the Chiltern Open Air Museum go to www.coam.org.uk
Side view of the Helmdon Cart at the Chiltern Open Air Museum
(reproduced by permission of the Chiltern Open Air Museum)