Gibbons Yard, Castor (1950s)

A series of photos, mostly taken in the early 1950s, showing farming equipment in the Castor yard of the Gibbons family. The top image shows Bob and Jack Gibbons in their yard in 1950.

Harry Gibbons & Sons Agricultural Machinery Hire was operated from ‘Gibbons Yard’ next to what is now the village hall since at least 1847, when Thomas Gibbons is listed in Kelly’s Directory as a machinist. However, the business is thought to have been established as early as 1840. At its height Gibbons had 40 traction engines, as well as various threshing machines and bailers. In the yard there were engineering workshops, a smithy, machine shop and carpentry workshops, all necessary to keep the machinery operational. The business was still operating in  the 1950s but eventually the yard fell into disuse and the buildings into disrepair. The property was sold in 1994.

Castor Station

Castor Station probably pictured around its closure to all traffic in 1964 and I believe looking towards Peterborough with the station buildings out of sight to the left.

Castor Water Mill

The early 19th century water mill at Castor which, although much altered today to form a private residence, is still a Grade II listed building. Date of image unknown.

Castor Station (1960s)

The site of Castor station pictured some time in the mid-late 1960s. The station closed to all traffic in 1964 and was demolished soon after. The hard standing where the cars are parked in this image is still in existance today if you scratch away the top layer of natural debris !

Across the line to the left – and also still evident today – is a large crater caused by the impact of a V1 Flying Bomb in WW2 which caused damage to the station buildings.

Castor Fire – 1912

I’m hugely indebted to Jean Wyldbore from South Australia for sending in these fantastic images of the Castor Fire on 11th October 1912 – thanks also to Russell Boyd in Adelaide for handling the scanning ! I will let Jean summarise the images ………

“I believe that there were four postcards in the series; these are No. 2 and possibly No. 4.

In No. 2 there is a woman and child (with someone behind them) in the middle of the picture looking out at the camera. In No. 4 (maybe – it’s smudged on the print) there are not only the firemen and locals who probably helped to put it out, but also lots of locals – men, women and children – milling around. And one dog !

They come from the photo album owned by my great grandmother, Harriet Wyldbore (born Castor 1869; died Pipe Lane, Peterborough, 1946). Harriet married Reuben Parker in St Kyneburgha, Castor, in 1891. I assume she was, or knew some of the people, in the photos and that is why she kept them. I now own the album – full of lots of unidentified relatives, whose pictures I am gradually scanning and will send out around the world to see if anyone can put names to faces!

I’d love to know more about the fire – was it shop or house or pub ? Was it an accident ? Was there a police report ? Was anyone hurt ?”

Castor Fire Brigade 1912

The locally funded Castor Fire Brigade standing in front of the engine house on the village green in 1912. The force was disbanded in 1939 when the Fire Brigade Act passed responsibilities to the Peterborough brigade.

Peter Ashpool clarified, “The brigade was not disbanded, it became part of the AFS-NFS during WW2. In 1948, when the NFS brigades were returned to their pre War authorities to run, many villages lost their brigades then”.