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.

Northbrook Cottage

July 19, 2014

A recent gift to the museum is a watercolour painting depicting the former Tudor cottage on Northbrook. The cottage stood close by the bridge which carried the road called Northbrook over the stream of the same name.

The Tudor Cottage on Northbrook - a watercolour by Roy McGrath

The Tudor Cottage on Northbrook – a watercolour by Roy McGrath

The artist (who was not the donor) has signed his work.


He was R McGrath – Roy.

At present we cannot be 100% sure just who he was, but we believe he married Linda Sheppard in 1937 in Market Lavington and that the couple lived on the sands just to the north of the village centre. We also believe that the McGrath family moved to Tisbury in the early 1950s so we can probably date the painting to that period of time.

Roy also titled his picture.


Of course, we’d have recognised the scene without a title. This delightful little cottage was well known and certainly was the home of Tommy Burden for many years.

To be generous to developers, the old house had passed its use by date and one day it was demolished and a house more suited to family life was built in its place. Many villagers think it was an act of wanton vandalism but very few people will say they’d have liked to have lived in the old cottage.

Roy, perhaps, has captured a lady who did live there.


We think this painting is absolutely fantastic. It needs a little frame restoration and then we’ll find space for it, somewhere, on the walls of the museum.

Huge thanks to Gaile, the donor. Her parents had been friends of Roy.


Dusty Feet

July 18, 2014

The Dusty Feet exhibition opens to the public in the Young Gallery at Salisbury Library today.

This delightful, quirky and interactive exhibition is about text in all its forms and signs.

And we at Market Lavington Museum have contributed by loaning items to it. And good folks from our area and elsewhere have embroidered text messages onto handkerchiefs – they make a wonderful backdrop.

Actually, the exhibition extends into the library itself and you are greeted, in the library entrance, by a Market Lavington typewriter.


The exhibition is themed in yellow – it’s very striking.

Elsewhere downstairs you’ll find a James Neate collection.


These items are normally close to floor level in our museum. It’s great to see them at a higher level.

There’s also a brick and brick box display in the main library.


But the main exhibition is upstairs (or lift). That’s where we find the handkerchiefs and here’s one of them, produced by an Easterton embroiderer.


And another is by a Market Lavington person.


There are others produced by local talent – maybe more than we realise, for some are anonymous.

Our well known door from Mr Walton’s shop is in the main exhibition.


The photo doesn’t show that staff at the shop, over the years, signed the door. The exhibition has another door which you are invited to write on.

Our rubber stamps with the names of all the local parishes also feature.


We have another typewriter in the IT room.


Of course there are plenty of items from elsewhere to tell the tale which has been curated by Kat and Alister of Two Destination Language.

The exhibition runs until August 23rd. How wonderful that the folks and visitors in Salisbury can see something of Market Lavington as well.


Boys at Broadwell

July 17, 2014

We have had a glorious spell of weather at the start of July. It was like the summers we remember (probably quite wrongly) from childhood. Then, in memory, the sun shone warmly from a cloud free sky and we were free to be out enjoying those carefree childhood days. That would be just like this group of lads back in 1952.

Boys at Broadwell in Market Lavington in 1952

Boys at Broadwell in Market Lavington in 1952

Our museum caption on this photo says the lads are outside the shed used by the band. Oh, the dangers of old captions. The shed and band are both long gone and so, alas, have some of the boys in the photo. The cartie that one of the lads has is sure to have gone.

This building was close by Broadwell and belonged to Merritt the blacksmith. John Merritt of that family was the band master for more than fifty years and he had the space here for the band.

Our caption gives us a list of names of the lads who appear in this photo – sadly it doesn’t attach names to individual people. What we have is:

Names: Maurice Little, Keith Arnold, Stan Andrews, Gordon Heywood, Johnty Gye, Jimmy Steele, Tim Gye

That’s seven names for nine lads Can you help us?

Let’s enlarge the lads to make it easier.



We look forward to hearing from you.

A Goods Label

July 16, 2014


Today we look back to a time when the railway companies were compelled, by law, to be common carriers. Anybody could present a consignment of goods at a depot and the company would do all necessary counting and weighing, and would look up the rate for the product in a huge tome. The consignee would pay over the right amount and his goods would be labelled and placed in an appropriate truck.

Later, a ‘pick up’ goods train would arrive and would add the trucks waiting to its train and haul them off to a central depot for resorting.

It wasn’t the quickest way of getting goods from one place to another, but it worked.

We have recently been given one of the labels issued at Lavington.

Great Western Railway goods label issued at Lavington station

Great Western Railway goods label issued at Lavington station

We can see, and it is no surprise, that this label was issued by the Great Western Railway. It appears to have been issued on 1st July 1919 at Lavington. Christopher Williams was sending his consignment to Bristol – the Redcliffe Sidings. We know the wagon number it went in and the sheet number.

It would be lovely if it told us more. We have no idea what Christopher Williams was sending.

Sadly, we have no idea who the consignee was, beyond his name.

Perhaps somebody might be able to help us with that?


A bill from Arthur Oatley

July 15, 2014

Arthur Oatley was born in Streatham in South London in 1883. Sometime towards the end of the 19th century his father became manager of Market Lavington brickworks. In 1901 young Arthur was living at Broadway in the rather lovely brick manager’s house. He was working as a brick dryer.

By 1911 Arthur was married and had two little children. He was a builder living in Littleton Panell.

Clearly by the 1920s Arthur had his business in Market Lavington at The Market House – the one old house still standing in the market place. It has recently been modernised internally and much renovated.

A bill from Arthur Oatley of Market House, Market Lavington in 1923

A bill from Arthur Oatley of Market House, Market Lavington in 1923

This bill was for sheets of asbestos which of course we now consider a very dangerous product. It was seen as a wonder material in past times.

The Oatleys were active in the village. Arthur was a member of the Market Lavington Prize Silver Band. His wife May was church organist. We have a photo of daughter, Rita, involved in a carnival.

We believed they actually lived in the Townsend area of Market Lavington.

Until we were given this bill, we knew nothing of the business and we know almost nothing of the family.

Perhaps somebody could tell us some more.

A Bird’s Eye View

July 14, 2014

Messrs Tomkins and Barrett of Swindon, who published this colour tinted photo of Market Lavington have captioned it as Bird’s Eye View, Market Lavington.

Bird's Eye View of Market Lavington

Bird’s Eye View of Market Lavington

I think we’d call it a view from the hill. The image just has the church on the extreme left. The printing process employed is certainly not the sharpest. If the colours are anything like correct we can certainly see why roads leading up onto the downs were called White Street.

This card was posted in Market Lavington.

Message and address

Message and address

It was posted on March 9th 1908 and as was often the way with Edwardian postcards, the message is written in a different orientation from the address. It made it that bit harder for a postman to read.

The sender was M Baker – This could have been one of three sisters, Margaret, Mabel or Mollie. Their father, John, had held the ironmongers shop and we have had many artefacts given by members of that family. These three sisters all emigrated to Canada.


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