A lunch basket

July 29, 2014

What we look at today is an elegant little basket, designed to carry lunch for one person who may have been working out in the fields. Our basket shows some of the ravages of time, but apart from having gone a bit squiffy, it is remarkably good.

We think this is a delightful item, right down to the stub end of pencil which now makes the closing pin.

lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

Lunch basket made by Alf Mullings of Market Lavington in the early 20th century

This is a basket made by Mullings of Market Lavington in the early years of the twentieth century so it is over 100 years old. We believe that the basket would have been made by Alf Mullings. His father, William was a basket maker before him, but died in 1903. Alf’s son, Sid, became a basket maker as well and stayed in part time business until the 1960s.

This simple box structure has a rather elegant opening lid.

This basket was used by Sid Mullings - brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

This basket was used by Sid Cooper – brickworks labourer and later Market Gardener at Fiddington Sands

With the lid open we can see it is curved and so, too, are the sides of the basket. Hinges, handle and fastenings are all made in basket fashion.

This lunch box belonged to Sid Cooper. We think he was born in the Northbrook area of Market Lavington in 1880 and was a labourer at the brickworks at about the time this basket was made. Later, Sid became a market gardener living at Fiddington Sands.

Sid died in 1951 and is buried in Market Lavington church yard.

Usher family – help wanted.

July 28, 2014

We recently had a visit from a member of the Usher family who lives in Norway.

Ushers at the museum

Ushers at the museum

He’d like help with tracing information about his family who lived in Market Lavington in the 19th century.

He sent us this information.

Usher Family of Market Lavington

Thomas Usher 1805-1891 b. Trowbridge

Jemima Bailey (1) 1802-1845 b. Great Cheverell Married Thomas 20th April 1828

Jane Gardener (2) 1804-1874 b. Erlestoke Married Thomas 1838 Westbury

Mary Scull (3) 1810-1882 b Erlestoke Thomas married her after Jane’s death in 1874

George Henry Usher 1829-1829 b. Little Cheveriell c. 6 March 1829

Frederick Usher 1830-1877b. Little Cheverell c. 4th July 1830 Married Mary Park

Louisa Usher 1832-1877 b. Market Lavington c. 8th April 1832 Married Fredrick Butler

Elizabeth Usher 1833- b. Market Lavington

Mary Jane Usher 1835 b. Market Lavington Married James Amor

Alfred Usher 1838-1881 b. Market Lavington c. 15th April Married Ann Still from M. Lavington

George Usher 1843-1910 b. Market Lavington – My Great Grandfather who married Louise Brown and moved and lived (and died) in Salisbury with their 11 children, I have details of most of them and he died in 37 Endless Street, now a B&B establishment.

In 1851 15 year old Mary Jane was a servant in the house of James Farmer, Butcher, 17th High Street.

In 1815 17 year old Elizabeth was a servent in the house of Cornelius B. Holder, Minister of Market Lavington Chapel, Market Place.

In 1851 Alfred & Ann lived in Townsend, number 10 in my notes, whether this is a street number or a register number in the census I am not sure !

In 1861 Alfred & Ann still lived in Townsend, he was a plumber & glazier.

In 1861 George lived with his parents in High Street, Cabinet Maker.

Our thought – for we have no information – is that the Ushers were members of the non-conformist church in Market Lavington.

Can anyone out there provide more information?

Say McVitie’s!

July 27, 2014

This is another of our adverts which came from Harry Hobbs shop which used to be just opposite the Green Dragon on High Street.

This one is different from all the others in being made of thin sheet metal folded around cardboard. Like other ads, it is delightful.

1950s advert from Harry Hobbs' 1950s shop

1950s advert from Harry Hobbs’ 1950s shop

We have quite a posh 1950s family – the lad even sports a bow tie. Mum has her tea and the girl of the family is persuading the family parrot to beg for a biscuit. Not any old biscuit, of course. The parrot must learn to give the name of the correct manufacturer.

Once again we have an item to bring back memories of a past era – already this ad is much loved by museum visitors.

Why not come and see this ad and others for real. Our museum is crammed with memorabilia – all about Market Lavington and Easterton, but of course, some items, like these adverts, have a much more general interest.

A Penny for your Thoughts

July 26, 2014

It isn’t only metal detectorists who turn up old coins. So, too, do gardeners and here we have such a find. It isn’t Roman nor even medieval, but it is more than 100 years old. It’s a good old penny coin.

Old penny found at Beech House in Market Lavington

Old penny found at Beech House in Market Lavington

It features the head of King George V who reigned in the United Kingdom from 1910 to 1936. This coin dates from the early years of his time as King as we can see on the reverse side.

The coin's reverse side.

The coin’s reverse side.

It is dated for 1913.

This penny was found in the garden of Beech House on White Street in Market Lavington in 2014.

If the coin had been lost when it was new, then it would have been a member of the Viner Johnson family who lost it. But coins like this had a life of fifty years or more. From the 1930s, Beech House was the home of James Welch and family and in the 1960s Tom and Peggy Gye moved in. The coin could have been lost by any of them or of course by any house visitor.

Incidentally to purchase what that penny bought in 1913, you’d need about 36p today. And remember the old pennies needed 240 to make a pound which means about 90 fold inflation over the 101 years. But we are all much better off now and in income terms that penny is now about £1.37.

Carved stone – but where from?

July 25, 2014

When Mike was preparing ground for the Centenary Seat on the village green, his fork hit something hard. After a tussle, Mike came up with a piece of rather nicely carved sandstone.

And here it is.

Carved stone dug up just outside market Lavington churchyard, near the Community Hall

Carved stone dug up just outside Market Lavington churchyard, near the Community Hall

The question now arises as to where this came from originally.  We believe the land it was found on was originally a part of Grove Farm but it lies only just outside the churchyard. This leads some people to believe it is a part of an old gravestone – possibly 18th century. There appears to be some kind of urn carved on the right with the leafy plant clearer on the left. Both symbols can be found on gravestones but the very even flat base of the stone might suggest this is not what this was.  But there again, the urn only appears to be half there.

As a gut feeling, we reckon this stone carving could date from the 18th century.

Maybe somebody out there could tell us more.


Before the Grove Farm Estate

July 24, 2014

Many people realised that the building of the Grove Farm estate was a big change for the village of Market Lavington. This was a big development of new housing. Quite a few folks were out with cameras to record the scene.

We have recently been given some photos by a member of the Francis family. This family were the last to actually farm at Grove Farm and, indeed, one of the new roads was called Francis Road in honour of that family.

Here is one of the photos.

The start of work on the Grove Farm Estate in 1987

The start of work on the Grove Farm Estate in 1987

Work has just started in this view in which we look west over the fields. Lavington School is on the right hand edge of this photo.

Lavington School

Lavington School

Looking further round we can see the Park Road houses. We believe the house with windows in the roof line once belonged to Sybil Perry.

Park Road

Park Road

Further round we see houses on The Spring

The Spring

The Spring

Present day residents on Grove Farm quite often ask, ‘What used to be where my house is now?’ This photo really gives the answer – it was pasture land.

This photo and half a dozen others date from 1987. It may seem like only yesterday to many of us, but it is more than a quarter of a century ago. You’d need to be over thirty to have any real memories of the fields that were Grove Farm.


Henry Hussey requires information

July 23, 2014

This is another in the collection of letters and bill heads received by Mr Sainsbury of West Lavington Manor although perhaps in this case it was his wife.

This is a letter, dated April 20th 1914.

A letter from Hy Hussey of Easterton in 1914

A letter from Hy Hussey of Easterton in 1914

‘Madam’ is being requested to send a large waggon to collect her chairs. We do not know if Henry Hussey made them or refurbished them, but he sounds very pleased with them.

Henry was born in Market Lavington in about 1868. His father was a master cabinet maker and Henry followed him into this business.

Henry, or Harry as he is called in the marriage register, married Agnes Andrews in 1893. The 1911 census tells us they had five children of which one had died. The census tells us that Henry was working as a cabinet maker at Fiddington Asylum, but he also ran a taxidermy business from home.

One of the sons, Walter, married a girl called Ellen Mullings which linked the furniture business of the Husseys with the basket business of the Mullings.

Husseys still live in Easterton today – descendants of Henry

A Ladies Cricket Team

July 22, 2014

It’s summer and England’s men have been involved in test matches against India in recent days.

What we are looking at is a cricket team from times past consisting of members of the local Women’s Institute.

W. I. cricket team at Urchfont - probably late 1930s

W. I. cricket team at Urchfont – probably late 1930s

The local ladies were clearly having fun in this away match. The match, we believe, was played at Urchfont. The dress code suggests rather a carnival atmosphere.

The back of this photo has a caption.


So why do our museum records have this listed as the WI football team? That’s got to be wrong. The tall lady on the right is holding a cricket bat.

We need help!

What we can say is that Bess, as mentioned, is the second from the left on the front row. She is Bessie Gye, later the wife of photographer, Peter Francis. It is often hard to identify people in fancy dress, but maybe others can be identified. Once again, we need help.

Judging by the age of Bess, we would date the photo at late 1930s.

Do, please, get in touch and help us sort out a bit of a muddle.


Tickets Please

July 21, 2014

We seem to have had a bit of a railway theme on this blog recently, what with goods wagon labels and a brand new Hornby West Park Dairy tank. Now we add a ticket to the collection.

This is just as things happen. These three items have all been given to the museum – quite separately – in the last week or so.

Take a look at the ticket – and then wonder why we have it.

Edmonson style ticket issued by the GWR and now at Market Lavington Museum

Edmonson style ticket issued by the GWR and now at Market Lavington Museum

There’s no mention of Lavington station. What we have is a ticket for a single journey between Bath and Westbury, travelling third class. The ‘via Bradford’ is, of course, Bradford on Avon. The fare of 1/4½ is very much at the old ‘parliamentary’ rate of a penny per mile. It is about sixteen and a half miles from Bath to Westbury. The company was, of course, the old Great Western Railway. We love the ticket inspectors S shaped clip mark.

The reverse of the ticket has the date of issue on it.

The ticket was issued on 24th May 1905

The ticket was issued on 24th May 1905

The journey was made on 24th May 1905. It was a Wednesday.

So what has this ticket got to do with Market Lavington? Well, it was recently found in a cellar at Clyffe Hall. It has, presumably, been there since 1905.

The cellar it was found in was converted to a cold room when Clyffe Hall was operated as a hotel. Maybe that helped to preserve the ticket.

But who used it? The most probable owner of Clyffe Hall in 1905 was Sir Thomas Rolls Warrington. He had become a High Court judge in 1904. We can’t believe that a judge travelled third class. So the simple answer is that we have no idea who used the ticket, but it has become Market Lavington history by virtue of its long sojourn in the cellar at Clyffe Hall.



West Park Dairy tank wagon

July 20, 2014

Not all items in a museum are old and here is one that is brand new. Back in the 1930s West Park Dairy, based at West Park Farm in Market Lavington had six milk tanker wagons which ran milk from Wiltshire up to London on the Great Western Railway. We have featured a photo of one such wagon in the past. You can click here to read that page but as a reminder, here’s the same photo again.

West Park Dairy tank wagon of the 1930s

West Park Dairy tank wagon of the 1930s

Recently, Hornby produced an OO gauge version of this tank wagon – we’d like to think our blog was in part responsible for this model hitting the market. We have just been given one of the models.

Hornby model of a very similar wagon - 21st century

Hornby model of a very similar wagon – 21st century

And there it is, in its box and packaging – but we’d better take it out for a closer look.

The Hornby 00 Gauge wagon

The Hornby 00 Gauge wagon

We can see that, with the exception of the standard Hornby couplers, it is a pretty good copy of the original wagon. Let’s have a photo to match the one of the real wagon – sideways on.

Sideways view - like the photo of the real wagon

Sideways view – like the photo of the real wagon

It isn’t the same actual wagon and so the differences may be due to that.

What a delightful item to have in a museum – brand new, yet recalling the 1930s.


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