The High Street in the 1950s

Today we’ll look at Market Lavington High Street in the early 1950s. It is probably no surprise that in looking back over 60 years we find that the buildings look much the same but the evidence is of a completely different way of life.

Market Lavington High Street in the 1950s

If we start on the left side we have the bakery. We are not sure who ran the business then, but within ten years it had become the Post Office and shop, more or less as we know it today. It’s interesting to see that alongside the post box which is still there, there was a stamp machine. Signs advertise Hovis Bread and Lyons Cakes, but it is what is left outside which indicates a difference in life. There is a child’s tricycle. Until thinking about it for this blog, it hadn’t really sunk in for us that these sturdy carriers have all but vanished. There is also a small child in a pushchair. There probably isn’t a greater risk of child abduction now than there was then – but leaving a child outside a shop was common – the norm. Now you just don’t do it.

Moving down the street we’ll pass what is now the newspaper shop, but then was one of several grocery stores in the village. This is the white fronted building. Next to that is Lloyd’s Bank, now a private home and called Bank House. At that time the upstairs was a good family home – and the good family were the Gyes, Tom, Peggy, Tim and Jonty.

Beyond that, the square-topped building housed the Mundy’s shoe emporium. This was a place where chaos reigned and everybody loved it. The late Ken Mundy remains one of Market Lavington’s popular characters. Everybody has tales about Ken.

A man and a boy are walking past, but basically everything looks very quiet. These days quiet doesn’t really happen. There is also a car. A car! Now the street is lined with them. We are not sure what the make of the car is. It is certainly pre-war.

The Coop was the Co-operative Stores then – another grocery within the village. Of course, it would not have been self-service. Now there’s a major change in shopping.

The last building we see on the left, past The Market Place,  is where Harry Hobbs had his shop. This, later became The Midland Bank and still has shop like windows which Harry’s daughter puts displays in.

Moving to the right we have the butchers at the far end with another old black car outside it. This one is recognised. It’s an Austin 10 and dates from about 1937. This side of Woodland Yard – then entered through a carriage arch, is the former hardware shop. It was probably known as an ironmonger’s in the early 50s and was run by the Phillips family.

The Kings Arms was very much alive and kicking then. Now it awaits its first residents in its new dwelling house form.

On the corner of White Street we can see that E Hayball had the shop which had once been a part of Mr Walton’s empire. Mr Hayball sold a wide variety of goods including shoes and toys and anything in between. Nowadays we have the hairdresser there.

There are readers who love ‘then and now’ pairs of photos. It is hard to do a ‘now’ picture because of traffic on the road. But we will in the future add further back in time shots to compare with this one. And who knows – we might manage a now shot as well.

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