Buster Johnson

Buster with Tiddles, 1962

Irène Johnson (known as Buster) was born at Versailles in 1907, to a French mother and English father. She was 29 when she married Johnny, swapping her cultured upper middle class life for one of frequent chaos and uncertainty. In 1951 they moved with their young family to Nethercote, a remote and run down farm in the heart of Exmoor. They were still living there when they died; Buster in 1987, Johnny in 1992.

About the editor:
Birdie Johnson, the youngest of Buster and Johnny’s four children, spent a large part of her life at Nethercote, the family farm. In 2002 she produced the Exmoor Oral History Archive (www1.somerset.gov.uk/archives/Exmoor) and, with photographer Mark Rattenbury, co-authored Reflections: Life Portraits of Exmoor, the book of the archive. She moved to the High Weald of East Sussex in 2009, where the landscape serves as a replacement for the Exmoor she left behind.

Johnny, fixing the water supply, 1966