1929-1939:
Recession hits, the forests advance

Despite a global recession in the 1930s,
the Commission's estates continued to grow

The land looked after by the Forestry Commission became known as the National Forest Estate, and by 1934, it consisted of 909,000 acres. The relatively cheap cost of land at the time, and the growth of demand for timber meant that the Estate expanded quickly during the 1930s.

By 1939, World War Two was looming. On the day war broke out, the Commission was divided in two: the Forest Management Department, to carry on its normal activities, and the Timber Supply Department to deal with war demands. Big changes lay ahead…

Click each image above to find out more about the equipment and techniques being used. If you have some special knowledge or insight into the vehicles, technology and methods of the 1930s, why not share it with us via Forestry Memories?

 
 
The Caterpillar 28 was one of the new machines brought in during the 1930s. (Image:  Forestry Memories )

The Caterpillar 28 was one of the new machines brought in during the 1930s. (Image: Forestry Memories)

FROM HORSE-POWER TO ENGINE-POWER

As the 1930s progressed, motorised ploughs, tractors and other equipment began to replace the more traditional, horse-drawn vehicles and tools which had been used in the early parts of the twentieth century. Throughout the decade, experimental trials of new machinery took place on the Estate, while more traditional methods were still being used.

Many of the new technological innovations in forestry originated in Canada, with frequent exchanges of staff, knowledge and technology happening between there and Scotland in this era.

 
Forestry Commission employees examine a fir tree at the Highland & Agricultural Show, 1931 (Image:  Forestry Memories )

Forestry Commission employees examine a fir tree at the Highland & Agricultural Show, 1931 (Image: Forestry Memories)

THE ROYAL HIGHLAND SHOW

The annual Royal Highland Show has taken place in Scotland since 1784. Set up by the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland, the event attracts thousands of visitors each year.

This rare photo of an early appearance by the Forestry Commission at one of the shows in 1931 shows how much the event has grown! The gentlemen present are examining the trunk of a large fir tree, felled and brought for sale.