Broadwell Leigh and neighbours

March 27, 2023

Broadwell Leigh, formerly known as Broadwell Nook, is a four hundred year old home on White Street in Market Lavington.

It is attached to and set at right angles from other dwellings and these have all featured in several of the postcards in our collections at the museum. Pictured at different times during the twentieth century, they tell a story of development and alterations.

This terrace of houses, all thatched, is at the back of the photograph in Broadwell 1929.

Looking down White Street in this 1940’s postcard, we see these old homes in their setting towards the bottom of the hill.

We run into trouble trying to put the next few images in date order.

The next card is undated. It is from a time when there was still a little wooded area opposite, behind a wall topped with railings. The lady with a pram further down White Street is wearing quite a long skirt (maybe Edwardian?) and the house below our terrace has a lamp on the wall. Possibly from the days of acetylene lamps before electricity came to the village in 1926.

Our records date the picture below to 1954.

There have obviously been roadworks. Piped water came in 1937 and sewers were installed in 1957. Another postcard, dated as 1950s does not have the roadworks visible. The people definitely appear to be wearing 1950s fashions.

The houses are still thatched, but those facing the road have had their white painted surface removed. To add to our confusion, our next picture claims to be from the 1960s.

The forward facing houses are not white here either, but just look at Broadwell Nook (later Leigh). Its stonework looks old and in need of a facelift. Compare it with the two previous cards, in which this work seems to have been done already. We have a copy of this card elsewhere in our collection. On the back of it is scrawled a date.

Now is this really 1960’s or could it be 1950’s?

Let’s move on. Our final postcard is from the 1970s.

Here we see the corner of Broadwell Leigh, still thatched, but the adjoining building is now tiled. The playground at Broadwell is clearly visible, but that has recently been updated yet again and all the apparatus in the 1970s picture has gone. (See Broadwell – 1970 and now.)

So that concludes our Broadwell cottages time travel. We apologise for the confusing chronology!


A family business

March 26, 2023

We have been looking at some of the artefacts from the King family business, recently received by the museum. (See An outdoor lamp, A glass carrier, Decorating the Parish Room and Paying King’s painters and decorators.) These will form a major part of our 2023 Painting and Decorating display.

The business passed down through several generations but, somewhat confusingly, so did the names, so it is sometimes hard to work out which items were connected with each family member. For instance, we have headed paper for H King, but Henry King’s son was Henry, known as Harry. Both were Henry John King.

A new donation is this sheet.

The style of the letterhead would suggest that this was Henry’s page and this was Harry’s.

So let’s follow the King business through the generations with some helpful notes from a descendant.

A John King, plumber and glazier, who was married to Sarah, was on Chapel Lane in Market Lavington. We have a date of 1861 noted beside High Street, so maybe he moved then. However, the final site of the business, 78-80 High Street was purchased in 1902.

The business was in the hands of the next John King and his wife was Mary. Our notes beside his name say they were plumbers and painters and dealt with acetylene gas and general lighting works. They were engineers and fitters and apparatus makers.

The next two generations, Henry and Harry are mentioned above. It was Harry who closed the business when he retired in 1968.

And here we have photographs of some of the members of this long established Market Lavington firm..

The second John King,

Henry John King

and Harry King.

A ladies’ coach outing

March 25, 2023

At Market Lavington Museum, we have just received this lovely photograph. As yet, we have not found out anything about it but, maybe, our readers can help.

Here, we see a group of ladies by a motor coach. The coach has stopped on the High Street in Market Lavington, just opposite the Market Place. We can see the porch of the Green Dragon pub (now reduced in size) and the archway into Woodland Yard (now demolished to allow larger vehicles to pass through).

Above the front window of the coach, we can read ‘One of Cards’ and ‘Private’.

The group of people is entirely female, so we wonder if this might have been a ladies group outing – maybe the Women’s Institute. There are a few people in the coach, so perhaps it did a pick up in Easterton first.

From the ladies’ attire, we are guessing a date of, maybe, late 1950s or early 1960s and a cold season outing.

We recognise Sybil Perry, standing in the centre of the group. No doubt some of our readers can supply more names and, possibly, a date.

At the museum, we will scan through the albums of Women’s Institute photographs in case the picture appears there with a helpful caption.

Meanwhile, it’s over to you!

A paint mill

March 24, 2023

Amongst our trades items at Market Lavington Museum, we have this large machine.

It stands about 45 cm tall and has a similar width, including the handle. It is a paint mill. It was used for mixing by hand such ingredients as white lead paste, colours in oil, thinners and driers. It came to the museum in 1985, but our records do not have a date for its manufacture or when it was in use.

Here, we see the interlocking cogs which transferred the motion from the turning handle to the blades in the conical container above. They mixed up the contents.

The mixed paint could be transferred out of the mill via a lip below the mixing cone.

For 2023, it is joining our display on Painting and Decorating, to be found in the corner of the kitchen.

Paying King’s painters and decorators

March 23, 2023

For our 2023 opening season, we will have a display of artefacts connected to the painting and decorating trade. This will include items recently acquired from the King family’s former business at 80, High Street, Market Lavington. We have already featured An outdoor lamp and A glass carrier from this firm as well as the suggestions they received from ICI for a colour scheme for Decorating the Parish Room.

We have been given some of their headed paper items too.

The time sheet was obviously used in the 1960s, some sixty years ago. No doubt the workers or their foreman had to fill in the work they had done, where they did it and how many hours they worked.

The time sheets ran from Friday to Thursday. No doubt this was to enable the office staff to calculate the employees’ earnings in time to give them their weekly pay packet at the end of the week.

Taking a bath in the 1920s and 30s

March 22, 2023

In our previous blog entry, we shared Sybil Perry’s Memories of the water supply situation during her childhood. Having reminded us that mains water was not connected to the village until 1937, she went on to explain what bathtime was like before then.

Of course, minor ablutions could have been undertaken in the privacy of the bedroom at a washstand with a ewer (large mouthed jug) of water. (See our 2013 entry Wash ewer here!) Even so, the water would have been brought in from the well or pump and heated on the kitchen range, before it was carried up to the bedroom.

Sybil’s file includes pictures of the washstand and ewer.

Having a bath was a different matter and was usually done downstairs in front of the kitchen range. ‘All hot water, even for baths, had to be heated in kettles and saucepans on the kitchen range. There were no bathrooms or showers.’

Here is Sybil’s drawing of the kitchen range.

Sybil recorded the procedure in this paragraph.

Here is the galvanised iron ‘tin tub’.

The weekly bathtime was arranged so that the youngest were bathed first and put to bed, followed by older children and, then, the mother. Father’s turn was last. Sybil wondered ‘how often they changed the water!’

Sybil was seventeen by the time mains water came to Market Lavington. Even then, it was supplied to one tap over the kitchen sink, so water still had to be heated on the stove. Houses would have needed conversion of a room to a bathroom or the building of a new room to contain a bath with a water supply, before folk could begin to avail themselves of the facilities and privacy we take for granted.

Market Lavington before mains water

March 21, 2023

We have met Sybil Perry before, a former teacher in Market Lavington and a generous donor to the museum. We are particularly grateful to have two large files containing Sybil Perry’s Memories. By 1926, Mr and Mrs Baker and their daughter Sybil moved from her grandmother’s home to a semi detached house, newly built by Wiltshire County Council. It was one of a row of four pairs of semis, which had no piped water, for that only came to Market Lavington in 1936.

Sybil wrote her memories of life before an interior tap and toilet.

‘There were no bathrooms then and the toilet – known as the lavatory – was built onto the side of the house, but you had to go outside to get to it. Whatever the weather, that is where we had to go!’

‘We got our water for drinking purposes, personal washing and for the laundry from one of two wells outside our row of houses. Later they were converted into pumps which made getting water much easier and less dangerous.
 The buckets of water were kept behind a curtain and placed under the sink. Of course, the bucket used for the drinking water had to be kept super clean. Piped water was not brought to the village until 1936 – when I was 17 years old. Even then, we only had one tap for cold water installed over the kitchen sink.’

We will look at Sybil’s description of having a bath, next time.

See also Water supply problems.

A faded bodice

March 20, 2023

Our recent blog entry about Another black jacket showed a dummy being prepared to sit on the settle during 2023. Her close fitting jacket was originally made for a lady of slightly smaller proportions than our model, so we needed a garment for her to wear underneath. It is always a problem finding a set of clothes dating from exactly the same era. The jacket is late Victorian, but our best match for a suitable blouse is some years older.

This long sleeved garment, gathered at the waist, was made in the 1860s and is no longer in prime condition. Made of muslin gathered over cotton, it was once pale blue and worn as part of a wedding outfit by the grandmother-in-law of our museum founder, Peggy Gye. It has faded to a dirty white and is rather stained, so just as well it’s only peeping out near the buttons of the black jacket.

However, we can take a look at some of the detail here.

There is a pleated section down the centre back and the front fastens with hooks.

These do not fasten with metal eyes, but hook through hand sewn eyelet holes.

Our bodice may be past its best, but we wonder how many of our garments will be here to tell a tale in 160 years time.

People’s Friend and Woman’s Weekly

March 19, 2023

In our blog entry, Haberdashery, we looked at a sewing box from the early 20th century. We have opened the box and spread out its contents to make a display for 2023 in one of our museum cabinets.

In amongst the many needleworker’s requisites, such as Needle cases and Queens – needles, hooks and eyes, we found two items which were, presumably, given away with women’s magazines.

There was a pack of needles, including a bodkin and a needle threader. This came courtesy of Woman’s Weekly.

Woman’s Weekly magazine started up in 1911. It was, apparently, aimed at supporting housewives in homes with no servants.

The People’s Friend was founded in 1869. This magazine provided our sewing box owner with a needle threader and a tool for sharpening scissors.

These are just a couple of the many sewing bits and bobs, surrounding the wooden box in our display.

Another black jacket

March 18, 2023

We have already seen An 1890s jacket from the collection at Market Lavington Museum. We have various black Victorian jackets and capes. For our 2023 display on The Oak Settle, one of our dummies is wearing a very elegant black jacket from the 1880s or 1890s.

We hope our visitors will stop and take a good look at this garment and wonder at all the work that went into making it. It has a stand up silk collar and silk cuffs.

It has seventeen covered buttons and buttonholes.

It is tailored into a narrow waistline, with a peplum at the back.

Inside, we see a large amount of boning, a waistband and a lot of hand stiching.