Vivian 1933
Vivian Harry High was born in Salthouse in 1922. His parents were Harry, who was secretary of the Cattle Association, and Bessie High (née Woodhouse).
His grandparents were Levi and Elizabeth High on his father's side and Tom ('Rummy') and Mary Woodhouse on his mother's side.
Vivian wrote an autobiography and he allowed excerpts from it to be published in the Salthouse Book in 2003.The excerpts reproduced here, belong to his autobiography and the copyright belongs to him.

Vivian today


Both my parents went into service after leaving school.
My mother's first job was as a domestic servant for Mr
and Mrs Ross at Salthouse Hall, and later she worked for
many years for Colonel and Mrs Watson-Kennedy at
Wiveton Hall. She also worked in London as a cook.

My father after he left school, worked as a farm labourer for Mr Deterding at Kelling Hall and later he went to London where he worked in a Hotel in the Tottenham Court Road as a lift operator. He joined the police in London, but the First World War put an end to this career and he joined the Royal Norfolks. He was discharged from the army with heart problems, and I still have his discharge badge which men who had been discharged used to wear to let people know they had been in the forces. He then returned to the farming life and worked for Mr. Tom High at Swans Lodge and then for Jimmy Duffield at Salthouse until he got his own small holding, but he was a special constable in the village for many years, and one of my memories is of how he had to keep the peace on Polling day at the Parish Room. He was on duty all day, and I took him his elevenses, dinner and fourses.

Vivian High Salthouse farmers boy

Levi and Elizabeth High

Bessie and Harry High

More personal memories like this






















When I was old enough I did jobs on my parents’ small holding. I remember burning quicks which were small heaps of foulgrass forked up after chain harrowing. Also I remember leading the horse while horse-hoeing. This was to keep the horse between the rows to make it easy for father to operate the mechanical hoe. This is the time when cutting out took place; thinning sugar beet, mangolds and turnip plants to a certain distance apart. My parents also had a small dairy herd.

Other farmers in the village sold milk in bulk. It was put through a cooler and into churns and then taken to Holt railway station by horse-drawn milk float for transportation to a milk marketing depot, but we kept our milk and sold it locally. I did the job of delivering milk around the village on my bike carrying pint and quart milk cans, and Mother made lots of butter. To make it, the cream was separated from the milk by a separator operated by hand. The cream was then put in a churn, also hand-operated. Sometimes mother turned the churn for hours, waiting for the butter to appear. She would then flavour it and pat it into half pounds or pounds which she would then sell. I still have the butter scales, but sadly the patters and decorating wheel are gone. The skimmed milk from the separator was sold cheaper or given to the calves. Fresh cream was sold to customers when requested. Grandmother Woodhouse kept ducks, and in the spring she reared ducklings. The eggs were hatched by broody hens called sitting hens. Orange boxes were used for hatching, and these were ideal because they had three compartments.

After hatching the ducklings were reared for a couple of weeks
or so, and then sold to a
Mr. Norton from Briston who travelled here by horse and cart.

I don’t know what happened to the ducklings; some said they
were used for powder puffs. Mother reared chickens by the
same method as Gran, but sometimes the hens would lay
away in clumps of nettles, where they were prone to rodents
—hedgehogs too could steal eggs. Mother kept the pullets, and
cock birds were reared for Holt Sale or Christmas dinners.
To encourage hens to lay, sometimes a china egg was placed in
the nest box.

    Mr Norton's horse and cart can just be seen outside Victoria Cottage.
    The Dun Cow Public House is the building on the right.

Mr. W. Gravelling was the publican at the Dun Cow, and he was also the Blacksmith. His smithy can be seen on the right of the photo above. Apart from the usual horse-shoeing, I can remember him repairing hurdles for Mr. Everett a farmer from Cley. These hurdles for penning in farm animals were a portable metal frame with bars, and four iron wheels. They were brought to Salthouse for repair by a horse pulling several at a time, and they made a terrible noise on the tarred road. the tin building which was Geoffrey Gravelling’s carpentry shop just beside the smithy, can also be seen in the photo.


Mr. George Holmes was the local baker when I was a boy. My cousin Jasper worked at the bake house. I remember how he used to do the hard-working job of punching the dough ready for baking early the next morning. The oven was heated by ‘furrer’ (gorse) bushes cut by another village character Joe Dack and carted to the bake-house by my Uncle Cliff with his horse and cart. Flour was delivered by a steam wagon belonging to Dewing and Kersley from the granary at Wells.

Some cottages had common rights which gave the occupants the right to shoot on the heath. One stretch of heath from Holt Road to Lawn farm at Holt was called Bix’s lane, and had private land on either side. This could cause friction with the land-owners at nesting time as game birds would nest close to, or in the lane, and at the start of the shooting season the game would stray into the lane and be shot by the locals who had the right to be there.