This wonderful picture of the Lush family haymaking on Salisbury Plain in the 1890s reminds us of how much has changed in over a century.
Farming can be a lonely job these days, with one worker driving a tractor in a large field. Back then, haymaking was less mechanised and it was a case of many hands make light(er) work. The cut grass has been dried and then moved by oxcart to where the haystack was to be built. (An ox can be seen on the far right of the picture.)
The hay was loose, not baled as it would be nowadays, and it needed to be moved from the cart and piled up to make a haystack. These haymakers do have an elevator to help with the process, but there was still a lot of work to be done with pitchforks. Several of the men can be seen holding long poles. A close up view of the man on the left, shows his pole with the two prongs of a pitchfork at the top.
In Market Lavington Museum, we have a pitchfork used by the Cooper family in the late 19th to early 20th century.
It is 5’3” long and 8” wide.