|The following information has been put together using notes and a diagram from Nick Hines who worked at Peldon's Hostel during its time as a pig
The Peldon Hostel situated on the Wigborough Road between Peldon and Little Wigborough enjoyed a new life as a pig unit from the late 1960s. Hitherto a home for Italian prisoners of war, then the Women's Land Army, followed by German prisoners of war it also provided temporary accommodation for demobbed Polish troops as part of a post-war resettlement scheme. It is believed it remained empty following the departure of the Polish until becoming a pig unit in the late 1960s.
Anecdotally, there is graffiti on one of the interior walls including drawings of war planes, maybe spitfires, dating to the war or post-war when the Polish servicemen lived there. Nick remembers seeing words in a foreign language and believes they may be Polish.
The hostel belonged to the Hutley family who lived and farmed at Brick House Farm, Great Wigborough (now Chestnuts) further west along the Wigborough Road. Presumably, the hostel had been initially built at the beginning of World War 2 on their land and once the Government no longer required the premises the Hutleys regained the use of the land and building. In the late 1960s they were to rent the hostel out to Michael Faussett, a pig farmer at Ives Farm on St Ives Hill, Peldon.
Michael Faussett ran Ives Farm as a pig farm and was also a manufacturer of pig equipment for retail. He had a workshop there (out at the back of the farmhouse) where he ran a business selling and making equipment for pig breeding. He kept chickens too. Upon taking on the lease of the Hostel from the Hutleys, he gutted the building, installing his own equipment for breeding pigs. People who worked for him included Nick Hines, Pat Wyncoll and Ruby Theobald, the latter worth two men according to Pat.
Nick's not sure what the little tower at the Hostel was used for - maybe it was for a boiler or another suggestion has been for a water tank - it is the tower that is still visible from the road. There was no access to the tower once the pig unit was up and running. Nick remembers there were 2 or 3 small rooms they didn't use which he thinks may have been used as accommodation for the Superintendent when the building was used as a hostel.
There was a Nissen hut behind the hostel which they used for housing store pigs.
Mike Faussett was to move to the South of England and the next occupier of Ives farm (circa 1970-71) was Ken Walton (married to Julia) who also kept chickens as well as pigs. Ken kept about 80 sows and several boars. There were 'fat pigs' which weighed 40 kg plus which went for meat and 'store pigs' 15-20kg which were sent to other farms to be fattened.
Nick remembers Johnny Knight from Home Farm who had a knacker's yard at the Hythe coming to take away the larger dead pigs.
When he moved to Ives Farm, Ken Walton also took on the lease for the hostel until circa 1977 - 78 when the lease was transferred to Stephen Chew, son of friends of Ken and Julia from Witham. Later Stephen Chew was to put a caravan on site but although he tried to make a go of the business rearing pigs there, he couldn't make a success of it.
The last person to take on the hostel lease was David Cockett. Nick's not sure exactly what he did with it. It was for a daughter who was possibly breeding pets like guinea pigs?
From a photograph in Ralph Sadler's book Sunshine and Showers published in 1982 it appears the unit had been abandoned by then and the building empty.
Diagram of the piggery at The Hostel (not to scale)
1. Farrowing Unit the door to the rear was not accessible due to the unit's iron-work. Nick was told this was the old dormitory
2. Service Unit (Boar pens) there would have been access to the tower from this room but again this was not possible with the unit's iron-work. This could have been the kitchen or a bath/wash unit
3. Entry Hall there were double doors from the front and Nick believes to the rear, a clean space where they stacked the bags of feed
4. Dry Sow Unit this was for pregnant sows 1 - 2 weeks off farrowing. There may have been doors between here and No. 3. There was graffiti on
the wall (labelled 4a) in a foreign language, maybe Polish? There was a door to the end unit 5 & 6 but again inaccessible due to iron-work.
Believed to have been the mess room/dining room.
5. A smaller room originally accessible from Room 4 and also from the outside.
6. Another smaller room accessed by an internal door from room 5 may have once provided washing facilities
7. Nissen Hut to the rear of the building split in two internally for two pens of pigs.
8. Sewage Plant not functioning during this time, it had been a coke-based system under a roof.
Peldon History Project
Thanks to Nick Hines
Women's Land Army in Essex in WW2
Peldon Hostel Post-War: the Polish
"Sunshine and Showers" by Ralph Sadler 1988. ISBN 9780951349007