Jack Hargreaves

Jack Hargreaves

Jack Hargreaves was born on New Year’s Eve 1911, in Middlesex, England. After studying at the Royal Veterinary College of London University, he supplemented his living as a veterinary assistant with journalism, which soon became his career, particularly in radio and later television. During the 1950s he became closely associated with the growing unrest amongst farmers and agricultural workers concerning the “seismic” change in the agricultural economy.

“A lover of angling, Hargreaves was bemused at the way it had become tribalised by class and species, which he blamed on "sociological, technical, financial and Malthusian" causes.” Source

Not wishing to digress too much, suffice it to say that Jack Hargreaves became a champion of preserving the ancient countryside traditions of Britain. He first appeared television in 1959 in his series ‘Gone Fishing’ which was followed in 1960 by the weekly magazine programme ‘Out of Town’. Many older UK readers may remember him for an educational children’s TV series called ‘How’ that began in in 1966. There were more series that were specifically focused on countryside traditions, particularly ‘Old Country’ in 1983, which was a revival of the ‘Out of Town’ format. Over the years he had built up an extensive library of 16 mm film footage showing the original countryside traditions of Britain and his knowledge on the subject was second to none.

To my delight I recently discovered that all episodes of ‘Out of Town’ and ‘Old Country’ are still available and I make no excuses for using them as reliable sources of insight into Britain’s past.

Will Scarlet


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