Philipson Farm Colony - History

On 20th October 1906, a year before the opening of Stannington Sanatorium, the Philipson Farm Colony was officially opened by the Right Honourable Viscount Ridley alongside the proposed site of the sanatorium. The colony took in young boys to be trained in agriculture and horticulture with many then being encouraged to move to the colonies, mainly Canada, in order to establish a new life for themselves. Over the years the farm colony provided fresh food and tuberculin tested milk to the sanatorium.

To increase the capacity of the farm new buildings were erected for the purpose of a Model Dairy Farm which formed part of the extensions opened by the Duke of York on 28th May 1926. The hope was that all the milk needed at the sanatorium would be supplied by the farm. The farm was managed by a Mr J. Atkin believed to have been resident at the farm prior to the PCHA purchasing the land. In addition to milk and dairy products the farm produced oats, beans, straw, and turnips.

A goods received book listing all incoming food stock shows the Sanatorium to have been receiving between 42 and 56 gallons of milk every single day from the farm colony in 1941. Regular supplies of other dairy products were also received such as cream and eggs. It is important to note that at this point in time the sanatorium had been relocated to the Hexham Hydro for the duration of the war but the farm colony remained in situ. Nevertheless they continued to transport the necessary supplies from Stannington down to Hexham on a daily basis. An inventory of 1946 shows the farm colony to have had 75 head of Ayrshire cattle with a value of £2226 and also lists many of the cattle by name with the amount of milk produced. Names include Ashington Poppy, Stocksfield Hall Mermaid, Ethel, Sheena, Mary, and Blackhall Fanny.

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