The Smith family

April 17, 2021

The Smith family of White Street, Market Lavington, had been dew pond makers and we have already seen several blogs about them. (See (Some of) The Smith Family of Market Lavington, The Smiths, The Pondmaker’s sign, The Smith Family at Work, The Smiths, Jacob and Mary Ann Smith, Dew Ponds, A Boitle and Minnie Smith.)

We have a photograph of the family dating to 1901.

Fortunately, we have been given the names of the people in the picture.

Much of our information about this family came from former local school teacher, Sybil Perry (nee Baker), who descended from the Smith family.

(In case you were wondering, we are told that the object in the top right of the photograph was a bird table.)

Women’s Institute Diamond Jubilee

April 16, 2021

Recently, we looked at pictures from Market Lavington and Easterton WI’s album Remembering 1945. Today we see mementoes of another of their events.

Nationally, the Women’s Institute was founded in 1915 and, in Wiltshire, in 1919. The 60 year anniversary being celebrated here is that of the local institute of Market Lavington and Easterton, which started in 1930.

They marked the occasion with a flower show and exhibition and our album contains the schedule, costing 15p.

There were various trophies for the winning entries, which have been awarded over the years at regular flower shows.

Whilst the growers needed to produce fine specimens of flowers, fruit and vegetables, the flower arrangers had some elaborate displays to prepare.

There were also classes for cooks and needleworkers.

The results of all this work were on display in the old wooden Parish Hall in Market Lavington, which was at the roadside edge of the present nursing home site, and has now been demolished and replaced by the more substantial Community Hall. As the show was on a Friday evening and a Saturday, we presume it was open to non member visitors from the general public.

A pyrene fire extinguisher

April 15, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum, we have fire extinguishers for use in an emergency. This one, though, is an artefact dating from the mid twentieth century, which came from a home in Easterton. (It is now empty.)

Made of brass, with a simple to use pump action, these were popular in the early twentieth century, often being carried in vehicles.

They contained carbon tetrachloride, which was effective at stopping combustion. However, that was linked to health risks, affecting the central nervous system, liver and kidneys, so was later withdrawn from use in fire extinguishers. (It could also change to the WWI poison gas, phosgene, when heated.)

The Pyrene Company Limited became Chubb Fire Security Limited in 1971.

Although Market Lavington is now served by the fire station in Devizes, it used to have its own fire station. For blog entries on this, try typing fire in the search box on our home page at

A St Barnabas plate

April 14, 2021

Before the 1870s, the people of Easterton in Wiltshire would have attended church services in Market Lavington, about a mile away. Then their own church, St Barnabas, was built along the High Street. For pictures and information about this building see St Barnabas Church, Easterton – then and now and Inside St Barnabas Church.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have this plate, which we believe dates from the early days of St Barnabas Church.

The plate is showing its age, with crazing and a faded central motif, which is still just legible if viewed close up – St Barnabas, Easterton.

The maker’s mark on the underside is clearer.

Previously Joseph Clementson and later including the word England and from 1910 marked with Limited, we can use the mark to date our plate from this Stoke on Trent firm to between about 1870 and 1910.

Remembering 1945

April 13, 2021

Market Lavington and Easterton have an active Women’s Institute, though they have not been able to meet up as usual during the Covid 19 pandemic lockdowns. At the museum, we set up a display of some of our artefacts relating to the WI, but we have not been able to share that with visitors either, due to not opening in 2020 and our 2021 opening is now in doubt as we wait for essential building repairs.

At the museum, though not in this display, we have an album of photographs recording various WI activities and events. This page is about a lunch provided to commemorate the World War II victories in Europe and over Japan in 1945. Although no year for this is provided, we surmise it was in 1995, marking the 50th anniversary of these events. It certainly took place in the old village hall in Market Lavington. This was replaced by the new Community Hall in 2007, so the lunch predates that.

Getting into the spirit of the occasion, the nearest waitress appears to be wearing a turban. The ticket shows a basic price for a basic lunch on ration, but extras were available on the black market!

A metal hat box

April 12, 2021

We have recently looked at A well travelled hat box, but that is not the only one we have at Market Lavington Museum.

This one is a metal container, which has been painted to resemble wood grain.

We believe it dates from the early 20th century and that it was probably used to store a gentleman’s top hat.

It is 24 cm high with a circumference of about 91cm.

Farewell Easterton garage

April 11, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum, back in 2018, we had a display on the garages in our two local villages of Market Lavington and Easterton.

Both of these businesses have now faded into history and we rely on photographs to prompt our memories of them.

We have featured the garage in Easterton before in Easterton Garage and Petrol in Easterton and caught glimpses of the premises in Carnival line up in Easterton and Easterton Post Office – then, then and now. Over time, as buildings are demolished, it becomes more difficult to place their exact location. Fortunately, a local resident had the foresight to record some then and now pictures for us, which are in an album of his local photos at the museum.

There is a photograph of the disused garage on the High Street in Easterton.

Just below it, in the album, is a picture of the two houses, which now occupy the site next to the bus shelter.

A dodecahedron

April 10, 2021

Darby and Joan clubs were set up to provide social opportunities for elderly folk. Market Lavington had such a club, which is now called the Monday Club.

It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 1988, having been set up in 1963. A work of embroidery was produced by the members to mark the occasion and this is now in Market Lavington Museum.

It is a dodecahedron, worked in silver lamé, with blue, white and silver decoration.

The embroidery around the base explains the occasion for which it was produced, whilst some of the pentagons from which the 3D shape is formed have been embellished with bead work motifs.

The object can be opened up to expose a flower display inside.

A paper label beneath the object refers to it being a group entry, so we presume it was in a competition.

A day out by coach -1935

April 9, 2021

By 1935 there had been a large bus depot in Market Lavington for many decades – see Lavington and Devizes Motor Services and The bus company in Market Lavington. However, in 1932, it was taken over by Bath Tramways. There was still a good service, enabling Market Lavington villagers to take trips out to many destinations. This was, no doubt, much appreciated in those days when most families would not have had a car.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a list of all the coach trips available in September 1935.

There were quite a range of options each day.

For example, on 1st and 22nd September, you could take a day trip to Southampton or have a seaside day out at Swanage or a half day in Bournemouth. On the same dates there was a more local option of going to Bratton and Westbury for an evening outing.

Visits weren’t limited to weekend days. Retired folk would be available on weekdays and many women didn’t have paid work in the 1930s.

Pick up points were in the villages of Market Lavington and Potterne and the local market town of Devizes. Depending on the location of the destination, the coach would either start off in Devizes or in Market Lavington.

The prices given are in pre-decimal currency. For example, 7/6 means seven shillings and six pence. There were twelve pennies in a shilling and twenty shillings in a pound, though none of the tours cost anything like as much as a pound. However, the average pay was about £300 for a whole year’s work in the mid 1930s.

The final page of our coach tour information is for outings to special annual events such as carnivals and fairs.

Lavington had its own telephone exchange at the time. The two digit telephone numbers indicate that not that many households were on the phone.

Brownies hair pins

April 8, 2021

Several of our recent blog posts have featured the department store in Market Lavington. (See A sign of the times, More sign writing at Lavington House and A ghost sign.) This business was run for a long time as Mr Walton’s Department Store. When alterations were being done there in the mid twentieth century, this little packet was found.

It contains hair pins – not the tight hair grips that slide in to hold hair in place, but the rather more open pins used for securing a bun.

The Brownies brand featured a one of those little fairy folk on its label. Our pins, contained in a simply folded square of paper, were coloured to match brown hair. The japanning mentioned on the pack was a lacquering process.