1875 to the 21st Century
The boom of the mid 19th century ended with the flood of cheap grain from America. The invention of the automatic binder meant the open prairies of mid west America could be farmed without the need of a large workforce. The cheap imports brought a down turn in the farming industry that continued until the start of the First World War. In 1881 the population was down to 622 and in 1891 it had fallen further to 600.
Many farmers went bankrupt or had to sell their land to avoid the debtor’s courts. If there was no mass exodus from the village after 1774, there certainly was after 1874. Many names associated with the village for long periods disappear during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The new farmers put more land to grass relying on livestock to make a living.
There were some attempts to improve the life of farm labourers during the latter part of the 19th century. The High Bailiff of the County Court, Benjamin Taylor was at the forefront of the agricultural trade union movement and was elected President of the Peterborough Union in the mid 1870s. In 1875 he leased 11 acres of land in Warmington for allotments to be used by union members in the village. The labourers of Warmington decided to call their holding Providence Farm and by 1881 there were 188 allotments in use.
World War I left many families without fathers, or sons as 24 solders from the village died in action. The Kidd family, who lived in Eaglethorpe, lost three of their four sons. Post war, the decline in the rural economy continued and was reflected in the decline in the local population. It fell to 550 in 1921 and 517 in 1931.
Some developments continued, in 1920 the War Memorial was erected on the Church lawn and in 1938 the Local Authority built the council houses on Little Green.
World War II also left its mark on the village. In early October 1939, 21 children from London were evacuated to the village with their teacher Mrs Willams. The cricket pitch (where Nene Pastures now stands) was lost to the ‘dig for Victory’ campaign as Britain tightened its belt. With the village surrounded by fighter bases a dummy airdrome complete with grass airstrip and lights was constructed next to the old A605.
Warmington also had its own Home Guard based in a shed next to the Hautboy and Fiddle. On 30th June 1942 the headmaster of the village school recorded in the school log book, ‘Very slight air raid damage to the roof slates about 2.30am. One bullet hole (machine gun)’.
Before the end of the war new developments started. In 1943 the Oundle and Thrapston Rural and District Council built new houses in Church Street (Nos 6 to 12) that were originally called Elderkin Terrace.
The post war era brought dramatic change to Warmington. Street lighting was installed and the population began to grow with the occupation of new housing in Church Street opposite the school (called East Crescent) for returning servicemen. However they could not rely on farming for employment and most people had to travel outside the village for work. This trend continues with people commuting far beyond the county to London and even Europe.
By the mid 1950s new houses were beginning to fill in the gaps along Chapel Street and Buntings Lane. Better travel and the growth of the manufacturing industry also had an effect on the village. Traditional trades and rural industries were no longer economic. In 1958 the miller Mr Haynes retired and Warmington Mill closed, ending over 900 years of industry on the site. In the 1960s the ford on Church Street was replace by a bridge and the fish and chip shop closed and was converted into the Red Lion Pub toilets.
In 1961/62 the Acremead development commenced and during the early to mid 1970s Drapers Close and Pierce Crescent were built. In the 1970 there were still four shops in the village and a garage (opposite the Village Hall) where Laurence Williamson was repairing the growing number of cars in the village.
In the late 1980s the Police house opposite the Red Lion closed and in 1990 the Methodists Chapel was converted to a private home just a few years after celebrating its centenary. In 1992 the new cottages and houses in Chapel Street, opposite the Red Lion were built and the Post Office moved to Glebe Stores when the Maxwell’s moved to Hertfordshire. 1996 saw the opening of the by-pass and for the first time in many years Eaglethorpe became an integral part of the village again. The two Pocket Parks were opened in 1998 and the biggest development in the village, Nene Pastures, took place between 1999 to 2001.