Page 22 - Moreton Village Only Book
P. 22

22 Moreton Village Only

                           The Housing Act of 1919 was equally important when, for the first time, the
                        Government undertook the role of housing provider for its working population. This had
                        been the responsibility of major employers and charitable institutions – often in liaison
                        with philanthropic individuals.
                                                                 Now, new homes for rent were to be
                                                              financed by central government, but built
                                                              and subsequently managed by local
                                                              authorities. It appears that Moreton was
                                                              quick to benefit from this new initiative as
                                                              four new houses were built on the old
                                                              allotment land and called The Furlongs. The
                                                              name “Furlongs” is derived from a word
                                                              used during the old open field system of
                                                              farming when the ground available was
                                                              divided into strips which were shared
                                                              between the villager freeholders. The houses
                                                              were let to villages who were transferring
                        Built on the old allotments, the four new houses  from the old cottages at the eastern end of
                        for rent which were named The Furlongs.  the village, some of which had already been
                                                              condemned as unfit for human habitation.

                                                                 A number of the young men of the village
                                                              emigrated to Canada in the early part of the
                                                              century. The precise dates are not known for
                                                              all of them, but it is recorded that some of
                                                              Alfred Howes’ sons went soon after the end
                                                              of the Great War. It seems likely that this would
                                                              be the time most of them would have chosen,
                                                              for despite Lloyd Georges’ comments about
                                                              providing a country “fit for heroes to live in”,
                                                              an improvement in general social and
                                                              economic conditions must have seemed to
                                                              them a long time coming.
                        Willow Cottages which housed three families.
                           Alfred Howes’ boys, no doubt in response to some initiative from the Canadian
                        Government to stimulate further immigration to help to tend the vast agricultural lands of
                        the central Provinces, worked initially for the Canadian Government for a nominal wage
                        only. They were obviously thrifty lads for we know that after just a couple of years they
                        were able to send home sufficient funds to enable Alfred to purchase all three Willow
                        cottages for £60. Meanwhile the Canadian Government, as part recompense, settled a
                        large parcel of land (not the best grade we are informed) on the three brothers, which was
                        said to be 15 miles across! This seems a tremendous distance and whilst it may be true, it
                                                              could equally be an estimate expressed in the
                                                              exaggerated grandiose language so frequently
                                                              used by our cousins in the New World. The
                                                              general  rule  for  immigrants  in  these
                                                              circumstances was an allotment of 160 acres
                                                              of land free, and a loan granted with which to
                                                              buy stock and essential equipment. Whilst a
                                                              few emigrants returned home disillusioned,
                                                              the majority prospered and became quite
                                                              affluent. Gilbert, one of Alfred Howes’ sons
                                                              did particularly well, and after his retirement
                                                              stood for Mayor of Vancouver. In addition to
                                                              his farming interests he also worked up a
                                                              substantial egg production business with an
                        The Furlongs as they are today.       output of 55,000 eggs per week.
                           In 1924 a further Housing Act was passed which provided for the construction of
                        more houses for rent in the village and, as a result, ten new homes were built at The
                        Furlongs as a continuation of the original four, opposite the Royal Oak public house.
                        Some of the families were leaving the village at this time and the availability of the new
                        homes in The Furlongs saw many of the remainder moving into the new houses.
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