Hareshowe is a typical Buchan small farm of the 1890s, an L-shaped steading set in 30 acres of land (equivalent to a housing estate of around 300 houses).
The measurement of 1 acre was the amount of land one man could plough with one horse in one day. Now we use a hectare, which is a metric measurement, equivalent to around 2 ½ acres.
If you look at Hareshowe now, in Aden Country Park, it looks as if it belongs there – this is not the case.
Hareshowe of Ironside originally stood near New Deer. In 1990 it was bought by the local council, dismantled and then brought to Aden piece by piece, where it was rebuilt. If you look carefully, you can still see the numbers on the stones that helped the builders put it back together.
Hareshowe’s appearance has been restored to the 1950’s. This was the beginning of great change for British farming. The government wanted high production, and changes in science and technology meant changes in the fields.
The introduction of tractors meant one person could achieve much more. The Ferguson, or Wee Grey Fergie, as it was affectionately known, was the must-have item on the farm.
The widespread adoption of these machines meant that most of the working horses would have ended up at European meat markets. However Prince, the Hareshowe Clydesdale, was looked after by his owners until he died at the age of 22.
Imagine living without electricity? Everyday activities would be so much more complicated. Electricity arrived in Buchan in the mid-1950s, and made life easier for everyone, farmers included. An electric cooker replaced the open fire and an electric water pump meant no slogging down to the well with buckets.
The farm used a traditional crop rotation system in the small fields. Oats, grass for grazing, and a hay crop (dried grass, for winter feeding) were grown. The farm also produced neeps (turnips), for feeding to cattle during the winter.
The family would have eaten vegetables grown in the garden and produce from the fields. Oats were sent to be milled into oatmeal, then eaten as oatcakes, porridge or brose (oatmeal with hot water, salt, and sometimes butter). They had eggs and dairy products, and butter and cheese was made at home.
For further information please download the “A Small Aberdeenshire Farm - Hareshowe of Ironside” leaflet.
The Barron Family
Margaret remembers the move from her Grandparents’ house: it was 1935 and she was 9 years old. She went by horse and cart to the empty, spooky farmhouse to spend the night there with her Auntie Annie. They had the fire going and the kettle on for the arrival of the lorry – first with the furniture, then with the animals.
At that time, Margaret’s father John was a widower. Having been injured in WWI, and lost the use of an eye, he had become a poultry breeder. He had training to start his business, and was provided with the equipment he needed.
Hareshowe was home to cattle and working horses as well as to the chickens and turkeys. The daily routine of farming life for the Barron family was similar to other farmers of the time.
A 6.30 start for everyone, as Grandfather rose and put the fire and the kettle on before calling to wake everyone up. Auntie Annie made a breakfast of brose (oatmeal and hot water) while the men mucked out the byre (cattle shed).
The rest of the day would be busy for the whole family, as they worked the land and cared for the beasts. Corn (oats) and neeps (swedes) were grown in the fields. Hay had to be cut, dried and stacked. Cows had to be milked and calves fed. Eggs collected, chickens cleaned and fed. Repairs to machinery, fences and buildings carried out...
During the 1950s electricity arrived in the area, which made life easier for farming families. Electric lighting was quicker and safer than paraffin lamps, although it was handy to keep some of the old lamps, because the electric supply was unreliable.
Margaret Barron continued this way of life after her father became too frail to work. In the late 1980s, she contacted the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum to find out if they would be interested in some old equipment.
The Museum sta not only took the equipment – they bought the whole farm, and transported it stone by stone to Aden. Hareshowe of Ironside is now Hareshowe of Aden, and is maintained as a living history exhibit as a 1950s farmstead.
For further information please download the “Home at Hareshowe of Ironside - The Barron Family” leaflet.
Hareshowe Farm steading and farmhouse are both small traditional buildings and visitor numbers may need to be limited at particularly busy times. A member of staff is on hand to provide visitors with short, guided tours. Please be aware that due to historic nature of the buildings, some areas of Hareshowe may not be accessible to visitors with mobility restrictions.
Harehowe Farm is open seasonally. For details of opening hours please refer to the Opening Times page or contact:
Station Road, Mintlaw AB42 5EE
The Aberdeenshire Farming Collection is one of Scotland’s Recognised Collections of National Significance.