Christmas puddings

December 8, 2021

Are you expecting lots of visitors this Christmas? Have you made your Christmas puddings yet?

We have already featured Samuel Saunders’ Vegetarian Plum Pudding in this blog and there are several more Christmas Pudding recipes in Annie Earle (Welch)’s recipe book which we introduced in our recent Marrow jam – 1903 blog entry.

The recipe that is mind boggling, not for its ingredients but for the sheer quantity of them, is the one pictured below. It just needs 60 eggs, 6 pounds of chopped fruit, 9 pounds of suet and large proportions of other foodstuffs. We wonder how long it took to make 6 pounds of bread crumbs and the mind boggles at 2 quarts (that’s half a gallon) of brandy. How many people would it feed?

Someone has jotted down that it cost £8.12s.4d in 1932. We wonder how much those ingredients would cost now.

Victorian bedrooms – Clyffe Hall

December 7, 2021

Taking another look at the auction brochure for the 1898 sale of furniture and other effects at Clyffe Hall, we get a good impression of what life was like in a late Victorian home, albeit a grand one.

There were lots of bedrooms and auction lots were up for sale in each of them.

We see that the beds had mattresses that might be stuffed with straw, horsehair, feathers or wool. This was well before the era of duvets and the bedding would have been cotton or linen sheets, topped with woollen blankets for warmth and a counterpane (bedspread) on top. The pillows would also have been stuffed with feathers. Sometimes a double length bolster in a large pillow case, would have been placed under a couple of normal sized pillows on a double bed.

We think that, at some point in time, there was a water supply to Clyffe Hall from Broadwell, using a ram, before homes were served by the mains supply. (See comments, below.) However, it is doubtful that water was on tap to all the bedrooms. Clues in the sale catalogue show washstands and ware, suggesting water being carried to china bowls in jugs. (See Wash ewer here!)

This excerpt from bedroom five mentions several hot water cans. These would have been needed, not only to fill the bowls, but also the hip baths and foot baths, as mentioned in bedrooms 11 and 12 and other rooms too.

Finally, we are reminded by item 581, the night commode, that toilet facilities were not as convenient as nowadays. The commode would have been a wooden chair like structure with a hole in the seat. A china receptacle would have fitted into this and would have needed emptying in the morning via Slop pails.

Mrs Doubleday again

December 6, 2021

We have already met Mrs Doubleday, the wife of one of our Market Lavington butchers. In the 1930s, the shop (still a butcher’s in 2021) was run by Doubleday and Francis, though Edward Doubleday died in 1936.

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His widow, Ellen, lived on until 1949. At the museum, we have a lovely photograph of her in later life.

It was taken by photographer Peter Francis, of the Francis butcher’s family and we see his signature on the mount.

Clyffe Hall Hill – 1958

December 5, 2021

Approaching Market Lavington from West Lavington, along the main B road, you cross over the bridge by Cornbury Mill and head uphill past Clyffe Hall.

We have already seen this section of road in our blogs Clyffe Hall Hill in 1908 and Cornbury Mill Bridge. The road was rather narrow for motorised vehicles driving in both directions to pass one another on the hill and it was widened in 1958. At the museum, we have a photograph taken during the road widening works.

We don’t know whether the bank on the left was unstable or whether it has slipped onto the road due to the widening works.

The photo was taken by village photographer, Peter Francis.

The price of cooked meats in 1951

December 4, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a poster issued by the Meat Trader’s Journal, which dates from July 1951. Although the second world war had ended in 1945, rationing continued and meat was the last food to come off ration, as late at 1954.

We are not sure of the quantities allowed in 1951 but, in April 1945, each person could purchase 4 oz (four ounces, or a quarter of a pound = 113 grams) of bacon or ham and 1s.2d worth of meat per week. (There were 20 shillings in a pound and 2 pence was a sixth of a shilling.)

Some of the items listed, such as sliced, cooked meat and sausages would be recognisable and palatable to many meat eaters today. However, food was in short supply and nothing was wasted. We doubt whether cured eyepieces, pigs’ feet and cow heel would find much of a market in 2021.

Clyffe Hall – books and dining room items – 1898

December 3, 2021

Today we will take a second look at some of the Clyffe Hall contents up for auction in 1898. The Hon. Louisa Hay had been a widow for many long years and had no children to pass her estate on to after her death.

During the first day of the auction, the contents of the dining room and drawing room went under the hammer.

We can see from the dimensions of the carpets that the rooms were quite large. Presumably the dining room had three windows. Carpets weren’t fitted in those days, so there would probably have been uncarpeted areas around the edges of the rooms. The rooms were heated with coal fires and there were hearth rugs in front of the fireplaces. It would seem that at least eight people could have been seated around the extended table. A large home like Clyffe Hall would have had a range of servants cooking, serving, cleaning and so on. The butler’s table in the inventory lends credence to this and the tea caddy table reminds us that back in the 1700s, tea was very expensive and was locked away in caddies. (Clyffe Hall itself was built in 1732.) By the time of Louisa Hay’s death, tea was more commonplace.

The sale also included over 700 books, some of which are listed below.

We imagine many of these reflected the interests of Louisa Hay’s late father, Duncombe Pleydell Bouverie, who had been a vice-admiral. (This link shows his obituary in 1850 and details many of the areas of the world he visited.)

We will return to the sale brochure on another occasion.

Clyffe Hall contents for sale – 1898

December 2, 2021

On our museum blog, we have featured the large house in Market Lavington called Clyffe Hall on several occasions and we have various twentieth century artefacts, from the time when it was an hotel.

This postcard of Clyffe Hall dates from 1908. Before that, it was lived in for many years by The Hon. Louisa Hay as a widow. She was a daughter of the Pleydell Bouverie family. Following her death in 1898, the furniture and other contents of the home were put up for sale by auction. We have the brochure from this sale, which provides a fascinating insight into the interior of a grand Victorian home.

Some of the most desirable items featured on the cover of the brochure, to tempt a goodly number of bidders to the sale, which took place over two days. The lots are listed room by room, so we can imagine the auctioneer and potential customers moving around the building during the sale days.

First up were the more mundane items from the dairy and larder.

We will return to this sale another time and take a look around some of the other rooms.

Marrow jam – 1903

December 1, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum, some of our artefacts are three dimensional and with visual appeal and are well suited to being on display for our visitors to enjoy. We also have many paper based items, full of historical interest, but less visually appealing. Amongst these is a little notebook.

It measures about 16cms by 10cm and contains handwritten recipes. It belonged to the Earle and Welch families. Annie Earle married James Welch about 1885. They were the grandparents of Peggy Gye (nee Welch) the founder of our museum. The entries in the book date from about the 1860s to the early 1900s. Some of the handwriting is very difficult to read. Others are legible.

During the Autumn, gardeners will have harvested their marrows, before the frosts. With their hard stripey skins, they can be stored for quite a while, but eventually turn mushy.

To prevent wastage, a jam recipe might have been the solution and this recipe book has one dated 20.9.1903.

Even with a couple of lemons to aid flavour and setting, marrows are very watery and a long boiling of the jam was required before a set could be achieved.

A Darby and Joan menu

November 30, 2021

The Darby and Joan Club in Market Lavington provided an opportunity for social contact between elderly local folk, with a range of activities. At the museum, we have a little menu card for a lunchtime meal in 1982.

Inside, we see the fare on offer, still with a Christmassy flavour.

The event took place in the Powner Hall, the ‘hut’ behind the Congregational Chapel/Trinity Church building, built in 1968.

For more information on this building, named after one of the church’s pastors, see Dedicating the Powner Hall and A dinner treat for the Congregational men, which has a photo of the Rev. Bertram Powner.

More Guide meeting activities

November 29, 2021

Following on from our previous blog entry, we will look at a few other activities prepared for the Girl Guides of the Lavington area between 1936 and 1942.

Morse and folk dancing featured quite often. The Guides all belonged to patrol groups. We assume from the preparation meeting notes that West Lavington Guides consisted of three patrols, where the girls could discuss things in little groups. Maybe some of the games were organised for the patrols to compete against each other. The tests probably checked whether the girls were able to achieve success on the tasks and knowledge needed to earn badges to stitch onto their uniforms.

On 8th June, the Guides had to practise for enrolment and flying up so, no doubt, some older Brownies were soon going to move up to Guides from their Brownie pack.

This was what was planned for an October meeting.

We are not sure of interpreting the handwriting regarding the game. Maybe Bessie, the captain, was going to organise it. The gramophone was going to be needed again for marching and maypole dancing.

It would be interesting to hear from the local Guide company about the activities they do at their meetings nowadays.