During the second half of the nineteenth century the enormous increase in agricultural production, unmatched by technical advance in harvesting, drew vast numbers of rural and migrant workers into the harvest that lasted from June to October.

This book, first published in 1982, examines the technology, conditions and customs of the harvest and, through that, the life of the rural population of central England from the 1840s until the end of the century when hand tools finally gave way to mechanisation.

The economic framework of the period in agriculture is set out and there flows a detailed analysis of hand tools and work methods in the harvest. The population of harvesters, agricultural labourers and their entire families, townspeople and the gangs of migrant workers are studied, as are the crops they harvested.

chapter 1|5 pages

Low Farming to High

chapter 2|20 pages

The Harvest Scene

chapter 3|24 pages

Crops and Labour

chapter 4|18 pages

Children’s Labour and Education

chapter 5|12 pages

The Irish Harvesters

chapter 6|13 pages

The Assessment of Harvest Earnings

chapter 8|29 pages

Social Discontent and Discord

chapter 9|30 pages

Harvest Customs

chapter 10|14 pages