Toy Boats

Market Lavington Museum has two hand made toy boats. It has to be said that they are not in pristine condition, but they are a real part of the history of our parish.

Two toy boats made by two men called James Welch, father and son

Our labels tell us that the boats were made by James Welch and that they were sailed on Broadwell.

The older boat – the green one – probably dates from around 1860. At this time the Welch family lived in South Wales where James was assistant manager at an iron works. One assumes that James made the boat for his son, also James, who was born around 1856.

The Welch family moved to Market Lavington before the 1871 census and lived on White Street, probably at Beech House, which is opposite Broadwell. So perhaps young James found Broadwell an ideal spot to play with his boat.

In 1887 young James Welch married Annie Earle in East London. By 1889 they were back in Market Lavington where their first son, yet another James, was born. Clearly the new James Welch needed a boat for Broadwell so his dad made the red one around 1890.

To complete the Welch story, that third James Welch, in the fullness of time married Florence Page. They had a daughter called Marjorie and she became Mrs Peggy Gye – the founder of our museum.

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