The shepherd’s hut (or shepherd’s wagon) was used in the 19th and 20th century by shepherds during sheep raising and lambing. They were also used while moving flocks around for “natural fertilizer” purposes. Shepherd’s huts often had iron wheels and corrugated iron tops. Sometimes the sides were also made of corrugated iron. One story depicts Wally Byam, manufacturer of Airstream trailers, as living in a similar contrivance at some period during his youth. Use of Shepherd’s huts by farmers reached a peak in the late 19th Century and dwindled in the 20th century with the advent of mechanised farm machinery and electric power reaching even remote farms. There use persisted in some northern counties particularly Westmoreland and Northumberland where the terrain of the uplands supports little else other than sheep farming. There have been numerous different materials used to construct shepherd’s huts and after World War One, when metal was in short supply the chassis were often built with wood and the sides built with interlocking planks of larch or spruce. Sometimes the roof covering would be constructed from felt and tar and insulated with lambswool. Cast iron wheels were frequently recycled from other farm machinery. There are now very few examples of the later 20th century shepherd’s huts in the county of Westmoreland which became Cumbria in 1974.
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