Rae chips in with potato picker memories

Wonderful memories have been shared of a photograph of potato pickers at a farm in the region.

The black and white picture was used in our Pictures From The Archive recently and delighted Rae Mitchell – as she and other family members are on it.

The photograph was loaned by Alun Evans, from Shrewsbury, who told us that it was taken in the 1950s at Monkmoor Farm, Monkmoor.

His dad, Fred Evans, was the farm foreman.

“I was thrilled to see it and it brought back many memories of the days when as a pre-school child I went potato picking with my mother,” said Rae, who lives these days in Guisborough, North Yorkshire, and was alerted to the photo by a Shropshire friend.

She said Alun had mentioned “the lady wearing glasses is Mrs Cleverly” who lived on the old Monkmoor camp airfield.

“I am the youngest daughter of Mrs Cleverly and both I, my brother David, and my sister Sue are on the photograph,” she reveals. “We are on the back row, just behind my mother, on the right, of her.

“From right to left it is me, Rae Mitchell neé Cleverly, Sue Southall neé Cleverly, and David Cleverly.

Potato pickers at Monkmoor Farm, Monkmoor, in the 1950s.

“We three left Shrewsbury many years ago but a friend of mine still living there saw the photograph and sent it to me.”

Rae added: “I still remember the smell of the diesel tractor.

“I also recall riding on the trailer, and once falling asleep on a sack of potatoes only to wake up and see my mother in the distance at the far end of the field. I also remember Mr Evans.

“It was so good that the Shropshire Star published the photograph. Thank you.”

Rae, who is 70, added: “After leaving Shrewsbury to go to college in Gloucester to train as a home economics teacher I lived in various places such as Southampton, Stockport, Scarborough, Germany, Cambridge and now, since 2001, I live in Guisborough.

“My brother David left Shrewsbury to attend college in Cambridge. He then did a post graduate teacher training course in Norwich before he too moved north in the mid 1970s and has settled in Middlesbrough. He is now 71.

“My sister Sue, known during childhood as Susan, left Shrewsbury at the start of the 1970s and trained in catering in the West Midlands. She now lives near to Lichfield. She is now 72.

“Of the three of us I think I am the only one who actually went potato picking with mum and it was before I started school. I must have started school in 1955 so I think the photo is 1954.”

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