Coronovirus rhyme time and gardening

August 14, 2020

We have recently been taking a look in our Lockdown in Lavington file. (See Lockdown in Lavington – 2020 and The lockdown file again)

The situation inspired some of our local residents to write about coping with the situation in verse and we have examples of this saved for posterity in our file.

Lavington Community Choir were holding rehearsals on Zoom and were asked to make up some new words to the tune of My Favourite Things. Tim, their accompanist, wrote some pertinent verses to other tunes too, including ‘Food, Glorious Food’. Here we have a glimpse of contributions by Tim and by Sue.

Songs 2

In the neighbouring village of Easterton, Kooky the Clown was also typing rhymes. He has donated quite a collection to the museum’s file, for our visitors to read, once we can re-open safely. Here is the first verse of one, as a sample.

A Stevens poem

Sue’s verses allude to lockdown time spent gardening. A lot of local people worked hard in their gardens during this time. We have been given a detailed account in words and photographs of the efforts made at The Old House.

Rosetta gardening

Again, this is just a taster, with lots more to read, when the file is on public view.




A jabot collar

August 13, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum we have a jabot collar, believed to date from the 1880s.

jabot collar snip

Our dummy wasn’t wearing the best outfit to show the collar off. It would probably have been worn on a dress with a higher neckline.

Apparently the term jabot is used for lacy collars falling from the throat and is taken from the French word for a bird’s crop.

jabot collar snip 2


The lockdown file again

August 12, 2020

Let’s take another look inside the file recording how folk local to Market Lavington Museum experienced the strange new world of Covid 19 and lockdown. (See also Lockdown in Lavington – 2020)

file pages

As you can see, there is a great variety of contributions, which will give future museum visitors an insight into life in 2020.

These are snippets of the writing from the viewpoints of people shielding, home alone, working for the health service and looking after a newborn baby through lockdown. Plenty to read, when the museum re-opens.

lockdown experiences

There are also photographs of the various signs and notices around Market Lavington, regretting closures and explaining the new rules for the shops and services that were open throughout, or re-opening later.

Village in March


We’ll look at some more aspects of lockdown in the file on another occasion.




Another sampler from Easterton

August 11, 2020

We have already seen a sampler with a short religious text that hung over a bed in Easterton. See An Easterton Sampler

Today’s sampler almost didn’t make it to the museum, as it was rescued from a skip in Easterton, when the Wesleyan Chapel was being converted into a house.

sampler 1

This sampler also has a religious text, beautifully sewn with tiny stitches. Apart from  a hole near the top right corner it is in remarkably good condition after nearly two centuries.

Sampler 2

It is surrounded by an intricate border and has several little pictures too.

Sampler 3

Samplers were often made by young girls to demonstrate their sewing proficiency and ability to use a variety of stitches. This one was made in 1805 by Harriot Hunt. We know nothing about her, so please leave a comment if the name means anything to you.

Thank goodness that this delightful piece of needlework was rescued for us to enjoy.

Lockdown in Lavington – 2020

August 10, 2020

Whilst it is very fresh in our minds as I write, at Market Lavington Museum, we are aware that this Covid 19 pandemic will become part of our history. So, we are very pleased that one of the friends of our museum has collected pictures and writing about this time and has given it to the museum in a large ring binder.

file cover

We feel sure that visitors to the museum will wish to spend time looking at the content, but the virus is still with us and the museum has not yet re-opened. Even if we felt safe to welcome the public back, we would have to ask visitors to wear plastic gloves when handling the file and we’d be putting it in quarantine for 72 hours after their viewing.

So, we will give a sneak preview of what’s inside through our blogs and, hopefully, whet your appetite for having a proper look when you can.

Some people had to shield and were not able to go out to buy food. Information about this has been saved to allow people in the future to understand the situation.

Emergency food and bread

There was also help on offer from  volunteers organised nationally and from a wonderful team of local people.

NHS and local support

On Thursday evenings, at 8pm, for ten weeks of the lockdown, people came out on their doorsteps and clapped the National Health Service and other key workers, providing essential services in difficult circumstances. Our file of memories alludes to this in words and paintings of rainbows.

rainbow painting

A quote from the file from a local nurse reads, ‘I have flushed with pride on those Thursday evenings listening to claps and clangs of pots and pans whilst people of our village have cheered on the NHS.’ Another contribution mentions people adding to the cacophony by playing music on their instruments. ‘In various parts of the village there was a flute and a clarinet as well as my oboe… Over the weeks, we played tunes including Over the Rainbow, White Cliffs of Dover, With a Little Help from my Friends and We’ll Meet Again. I heard someone playing a saxophone on Bouverie Drive and some drumming down the High Street.’

Thanks NHS

This is just a glimpse of some of the items in the file. We will look at other aspects of lockdown in the future.

Meanwhile, we have noticed that there is very little male input and neither is there much about how Covid affected jobs with furlough, working from home etc. If you live in Market Lavington or Easterton and have a contribution to make, it is not too late as we can insert extra pages in the ring binder.




A paraffin stove

August 9, 2020

Campers and folk on a day out, wanting to be able to boil a kettle, warm a can of soup or make a simple meal might take a small canister gas stove with them. But the Camping Gaz company dates from 1949. Prior to this people used primus stoves. Primus paraffin stoves date from 1892 onwards and primus gets used as a generic term, though other makes were available.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have one made by Monitor Engineering of Stretchford, Birmingham.


It is a compact little stove with a wind shield and three bent rods, providing a base for a kettle or saucepan.

Our stove was designed to be taken out on holidays and expeditions and packs away into a tin. This would have been bright red, with a yellow lid with charming pictures which, sadly, are now very faded.

stove tin

However, we can just read that the Monitor Touring Stove was for Every Outdoor Occasion, with pictures suggesting it might be taken by caravan holiday makers, cyclists, motorcyclists or car drivers. We think it may date from the 1950s.

A Charleston dress

August 8, 2020

Named after a town in South Carolina and popularised in the 1923 ‘Runnin’ Wild’ show, the Charleston dance epitomised the mid 1920s. It had a simple rhythm charleston and exuberant leg movements, requiring suitable clothing. A dress that was not too long and had a wide skirt was ideal.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have such a garment.

charleston dress 3

Made of blue chiffon, with a swirling pattern and uneven hem length, it does not look too special when hanging from a coat hanger. However, the circular skirt is very full and well suited to accommodating the energetic, kicking steps of the dance.

charleston dress 2

We are lucky that such a flimsy garment has been preserved and can represent its era after almost a century.

The sun ray lamp again

August 7, 2020

sunray lamp 1

We have seen this sun ray lamp from the late 1930s before. For more information on how it worked, see A sun ray lamp

In the first half of the 20th century, ultra violet rays were believed to be beneficial for people suffering from many medical conditions. Sun ray therapy was prescribed for varicose veins, heart disease, sore throats, anaemia and acne and was also used by adults for tanning. Some of these treatments were carried out in hospitals with large scale equipment but, at Market Lavington Museum, we have a small lamp for use at home.

We have had our lamp out on display recently, along with some of its spare parts.

sunray lamp 3

We believe that the carbon rods burnt away and needed to be replaced from time to time. We have packs of two types of carbons – Special Therapeutic Negative Carbons and Therapeutic Cored Polymetallic Carbons. We also have coloured glass filters and spare electric coils.

sunray lamp 2

Children were regularly treated  wearing goggles to protect their eyes, whilst having their bodies exposed to the rays. It is now understood that ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer and are to be avoided.


1920s fashion for a little girl

August 6, 2020

In the 1920s, one of the features of ladies fashion was the shift dress with a drop waist. At Market Lavington Museum, we have an example of such a dress.

Baby dress 1920s

But ours wasn’t worn by an adult. It is just 46cm long, so it belonged to a small girl, dressed to reflect the fashion of the time. This charming pale cream silk garment has a hand embroidered collar with picot edging.

collar 1920s

We are so fortunate that the dress has been preserved in lovely condition for a whole century, enabling us share it with our visitors.

A butcher’s bag

August 5, 2020

Not every item at Market Lavington Museum is very old. Indeed, we often say that today’s news is tomorrow’s history and add some recent objects to our collection. One such is a bag advertising Douse’s Butcher’s shop.

Butcher Douse bag

Many of our displays are changed every year or two. In 2019, we set up a display about Market Lavington shops and this bag features in it. Douse’s have been in their shop opposite the Market Place since 1964, but the building has been used as a butcher’s shop for a very long time. (See The butcher’s shop)

Alongside our bag, we have some tools that have been used by local butchers over the years.

Butcher steel Butcher carcass stretcher Butcher cleaver

The butcher’s steel would have hung from his belt, handy for sharpening his cutting tools. The carcass stretcher held the meat being butchered, whilst the cleaver was used for chopping.

We also have a steelyard in our trades room. (See A butcher’s steelyard)