image above: Oldland Common Church Hall, School Road.
When this photograph was taken Oldland was still very much deep in the countryside and extremely rural, both in appearance and outlook. The 1920s were replaced by the 1930s and Oldland continued to plod along in very much the same way as it had done over the last two hundred years.
Oldland had an extremely good reputation for producing hats of quality, all of which would have been produced by hand by the women in their own homes. The work of producing the hats locally appears to have begun around the late 1700s.
1086 - Bitton mentioned in Doomsday Book. (Boyton - village/town on River Boyd) Oldland mentioned in Doomsday Book. (Aldelade - old tract of land) The "land" was owned by Osbern, Bishop of Exeter.
The area has had many other names down the years including: Holande, Oldelond, Wholdland (1564), Wooland (in Elizabethan era), Ouldland (1661), and Eland.
Just before the start of the First World War - A peaceful view of Oldland Common High Street - Coal mining was a very important local industry being the larest single employer of men and boys taking a quarter of the male workforce. The next largest group of mixed workers were employed in the shoe and boot making industry - Others also worked in the local paper and brass mills or the making of pins or hats.
By the end of the first world war the village was a different place to live in - Many if not all of the old industries in and around the area had disappearded with the need to make huge quantities of Military boots no longer necessary.
1800: First recorded Smallpox epidemic in Oldland area.
1811: Oldland Tabernacle (Old Chapel) Church opens.
Richard Haynes (AKA Dick-Boy) Infamous Highway Robber from Oldland was excecuted in Bristol.
1828 Gloucester Journal CHARGE OF MURDER.
The neighbourhood of Oldland Common, in the parish of Bitton, near Bristol, has been in a state of great excitement for some days, from a report of a woman having been killed by her husband, a hatter there. JOSEPH PARKER, Esq. the Magistrate for the neighbourhood, having with his usual promptitude investigated the grounds of suspicion against the accused, committed him to the House of Correction at Lawford’s Gate, to await the decision of a Coroner’s Inquest, which was summoned by W Joyner Ellis, Esq. and met on Saturday last. It appeared on evidence that the deceased, MARGARET ROBERTS, had for a considerable time past been subject to the violence of her husband, from a suspicion, (tho’ it is believed a groundless one,) of her unfaithfulness.
About six weeks since they went together to Bath, and on their return, his jealousy having been excited by her having been separated from him, and accidentally returning home by a different road, he beat her very dreadfully about the head and body.
Her cries having alarmed the neighbours, they succeeded in breaking open the door and prevented further violence. From that time she gradually fell away and daily became worse, but no medical aid was afforded her until Tuesday week, when the neighbours expressing a belief to the husband that she was dying, he applied to a medical gentleman in the neighbourhood for his assistance, but it was then of no avail, and the poor woman died the next morning. After a patient investigation, the Jury returned a verdict of Wilful Murder against the husband, ARTHUR ROBERTS, who was thereupon committed to our County Prison, by the Coroner, for trial at our next Assizes.