The vinegar bus

May 16, 2022

At Market Lavington Museum, we are very fortunate to have a Victorian pram, which was painstakingly restored, as far as possible, by Wiltshire County Council conservators in Salisbury. We will look at this process in more detail on another occasion. The pram hood is in very poor condition and too damaged to display with the pram. The body is quite robust, but the wheels are later replacements.

Here is the reason for that!

The pram had belonged to James and Annie Sarah Welch, grandparents of our museum founder, Peggy Gye. The pram had been used for James and Annie’s children, Dorothy and James. When the children were too big to need a pram, its body was stored in the loft of their home, Spring Villa, on Church Street in Market Lavington. The wheels, however, were given a new lease of life as part of a go kart!

Here is the Welch family with the go kart. Apparently, it was called a vinegar bus because the kart’s body was made from boxes used for delivering bottles of vinegar to local shops.

In the Victorian pram

May 15, 2022

In our previous post, we saw the boy in the pram, wearing a dress and cape, more suited to a baby who was carried. Older children, who could sit up, were strapped into a pram and their feet would fit down into the foot well. Our pram was made to take two children, so we have found late Victorian garments for another child to sit in the pram with the little boy.

His sister is wearing the heavily embroidered winter coat, which we have featured in detail before. (See A child’s winter coat – 1890s.)

The hat she is wearing would not have been part of her outfit. In fact, it dates from about 1910, so is twenty years too modern, but that was the closest we could get.

We will take a closer look at the pram another time.

A boy in the pram

May 14, 2022

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a pram, the body of which dates from Victorian times, though the wheels were replaced later. It would be good to be as authentic as possible when dressing the dolls to go on display in it but, obviously, we are limited by the artefacts we have available. This year, we tried to match the clothing to the age of the pram and found a baby boy’s dress and cape dating from about 1870.

Little boys did wear dresses and his is made from cotton piqué. Over his dress, he has a matching cotton carrying cape.

We have seen this outfit before, in A Victorian Wicker Basket and this is a more appropriate place for him as Victorian babies did not go in prams until they were big enough to sit up.

However, our pram is tucked under a cabinet and we do not have a larger doll and, if we did, he wouldn’t fit.

Oh well, at least we got the vintage of the garment right for the pram, even if the little lad is a bit too young.

We will look at his sister and the pram in more detail another time.

A small guillotine

May 13, 2022

In our collection at Market Lavington Museum, we have a photographer’s guillotine, used for cutting photographs.

It obviously dates from a previous era, being made of wood and calibrated in inches. Our records date it to the early 20th century. The cutting blade is metal, but has lost its handle.

We have had a succession of photographer’s businesses in Market Lavington, from late Victorian times until fairly recently. However, we have no evidence that this photo cutter was ever used here. The local connection seems to be that the donor lived here. She was the granddaughter of the maker, John Merrett of Trowbridge.

The back is stamped with Clement J. Smith, Pewsey, Wilts. Pewsey is a small town about ten miles north east of Market Lavington.

Another folding saw

May 12, 2022

We have previously featured what we believe may be A World War II saw and its canvas pouch. At Market Lavington Museum, we also have this leather pouch.

It also contains a two man saw. If the numbers on the reverse of the pouch constitute a date, then this saw is from 1915.

The pouch has loops so that it can be threaded onto a belt and worn to wherever it was needed for tree felling.

When the pouch is opened, we find a very sharp coiled saw and two wooden handles, which can be fitted into the rings at either end of the blade.

Extended, this saw is roughly a metre in length.

It was made in Sheffield by D.W.Orr and co.

There are obvious similarities between this and our military saw. We do not know whether they were just a useful design, made over many years, or if our canvas pouched saw was, in fact, made before our guess of WWII. (Comments by those in the know welcomed.)

A little girl’s cotton bonnet

May 11, 2022

In our previous blog entry, we saw a doll dressed in a cotton day dress from about 1910, sitting in our high chair. Although there would have been no need to wear a bonnet for a mealtime in the house, we decided to top off our little girl’s outfit to give our visitors a chance to see one of our little bonnets. This one dates from 1910 or just after, so is about right to go with the dress and the time when Flo Burbidge was a toddler in this very high chair and house.

The bonnet has frills at the front and bands of broderie anglaise.

At the back the material is gathered in, with a little bow.

So, if you visit the museum kitchen this year, you will see this little girl, waiting for her meal.

A cotton day dress – 1900s

May 10, 2022

We have already seen the high chair at Market Lavington Museum. (See Mary and the high chair.) We have quite a large collection of clothes for small children dating from about a hundred years ago and we try to dress our dolls in different outfits each year.

We know that Florrie Burbidge was born, in 1908, in the house that is now our museum and that she used to sit in ‘our’ high chair so, this year, we have found clothes that date from about the time that Florrie was a toddler.

This cotton day dress did not belong to Flo. It was made by Mary Ann Gye, the grandmother of Tom, husband of our museum founder, Peggy. But it is of the right sort of vintage, being made in the 1900s.

A closer look shows the lovely detail that featured in the sewing of this garment.

It fastens at the back of the neck with three little buttons, held in place by tiny hand made loops.

We will take another look at this doll’s outfit next time.

Swapped for sweeties

May 9, 2022

We have already followed the story of a flower basket made by William Mullings in Market Lavington, used by Miss Ann Pleydell Bouverie at The Old House and then passed on to her gardener’s daughter, Flo Burbidge, who became Mrs Shore. See A Basket Case.

This is the basket and we now have an update on its story. The lady who donated the basket to Market Lavington Museum descended from the Mullings basket makers’ family. Mrs Flo Shore gave the basket to our donor in exchange for a large bag of Nuttall’s Mintoes.

Perchance, we have a Nuttall’s Mintoes tin in our museum. A lady living in Market Lavington had used it for storing dog biscuits before giving it to the museum.

See our blog entry – Nuttall’s Mintoes.

Thatching at Clyffe Hall

May 8, 2022

We have featured Clyffe Hall many times in this blog. It is a small stone built mansion in Market Lavington, dating from 1732, with wings added later. It is certainly not a humble thatched residence.

However, we have recently been contacted by a thoughtful correspondent, who is related to a former thatcher from nearby Chirton. She had found this entry in thatcher Stanley Potter’s account book.

It does indeed relate to a thatching job at Clyffe Hall, not to the main residence but to the potato house. The costs are itemised, but we are not sure how big the potato store’s roof was as the 17 1/2 sq does not give a unit – square feet or square yards? However, that accounted for the bulk of the cost – 17 pounds and 10 shillings. 20 hours work was required to strip off the old thatch and to make the spars, to peg down the replacement straw. We see that, in 1947, that came to £4, which meant that Mr Potter was charging his labour at 4 shillings an hour. Tar rope was sold by weight and 5lbs of it came to 12 shillings and 6 pence, whilst 42 barge hooks cost 2 guineas.

The owner, Mr Reynolds paid the total of £24. 4s. 6d by cheque.

He had bought Clyffe Hall in 1938 and it was used by the staff training senior officers during the war. The Reynolds set up a hotel business there after the war, so maybe the newly thatched building stored potatoes for feeding the guests.

James Perrett’s bible

May 7, 2022

Outwardly, this bible is not very attractive, being in rather poor condition. It is embossed with the wording – Society for the promotion of Christian knowledge, Holy Bible.

Inside there is an inscription.

We see that the book was given to James Perrett by James Paton (the officiating minister) and was paid for from The Bishop Tanner Charity.

Bishop Thomas Tanner was born in Market Lavington in 1674 and left instructions in his will that charities, including The Bishop Tanner Christmas Coal Charity should be set up in his name. In 1735 a sum of £200 was to be invested and the interest used for a range of stipulated gifts, paid annually on St Paul’s day.

This legacy included

20s. to buy four bibles with common prayer, to be given also yearly on St. Paul’s day to such four poor persons in the said parish as in the opinion of the Vicar or his Curate were most likely to make the best use of the same, and were least able to buy such.

Presumably, many years later, James Perrett was deemed to fit the criteria for being one of the four recipients.

His bible was passed down through the family as, at the top of the inscription, we see that it was gifted to his granddaughter, Lizzie Perrett, who has added her name.