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A giant at work

Posted on March 27 2006 at 9:28:52

I remember Big Bertha (Village March 2006). I worked as a valuer and compensation negotiator for Cecil Cariss & Son, Auctioneers and Estate Agents, in 1955.

It was during that year that the firm was instructed by Miss Boultbee-Brookes, owner of Antler Suitcases and Brookes Cycle Saddles, and who lived in Blackwell, to negotiate compensation on her behalf.

Miss Boultbee-Brookes owned arable land alongside the Lickey Incline. It might have been a meadow. The crop or hay had been set on fire by sparks from Big Bertha; not for the first time, apparently.

Because Cecil Cariss & Son were urban based and my colleague, Tony Munn, and I had been trained in urban values, much research had to be carried out to find the costs of ploughing, harrowing, discing, drilling, fertilizing, seeding etc. before arriving at acceptable compensation.

I have no memorabilia of the event, just a vague memory of seeing scorched earth coupled with the acrid smell of burnt vegetation and of watching a giant at work.

John F Rice, FRICS, Chartered Surveyor, Cofton Hackett


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