100 years ago

May the luck be with us and perhaps we have good fortune here.

The bad news is the demise of the museum at Lackham – but at least other museums can benefit. Some may be able to take wonderful buildings like granaries. We stick rigorously to our ‘only Market Lavington/Easterton rule and have acquired just three agricultural show catalogues. We actually first bid for these items some time ago but were invited to collect them a couple of days ago. This one, we were reminded then, is about the show which took place 100 years ago.

Wiltshire Agricultural Association show catalogue for 1914

Wiltshire Agricultural Association show catalogue for 1914

Here we have the front cover of the catalogue for the Wiltshire Agricultural Associatioin show which took placed at Chippenham on June 23rd and 24th 1914. This was the summer before the war and just four days after the show was the day that Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated in Sarajevo, an event which many people believed fired the trigger which started the war. That’s an event to be commemorated in Market Lavington on June 28th 2014 when we hold a First World War concert in our Community Hall. We, of the museum, will take our part in this.

But for now let’s find out what some of the folks of Market Lavington were doing 100 years ago. That cluster of book marks, seen at the top of the image above, show the local entries in the catalogue.

Arthur M Walton, who was best known for owning the department store in the middle of Market Lavington, had entered eggs in ‘the best dozen white eggs’ class – both the open and the members section. Mr Walton also ran the Wilts Down Poultry Farm. From the same farm, white Wyandotte hens and White Faverolle hens were displayed. Mrs Walton, Arthur’s wife, was showing bantams both hens and cocks. Her variety was Belgian Barbes d’Amvers and her address was given as Ivy Lodge in Market Lavington.

Also in the poultry section, a chap called Kenneth Seaborne had entered white Wyandotte hens and cocks. Can anybody tell us anything about him? His address was just given as Market Lavington.

Two local brothers were competing against one another in various horse shoeing competitions. The two were John Hampton Merrit and Thomas Merrit. One of their competitions was for ‘the smith who can exhibit most skill in shoeing cart horses’. They were also involved in similar competitions for different types of horse like roadsters and hunters.

Two local companies had trade stands, one of which was W H Hopkins


Hopkins was displaying his acetylene gas generators and lighting system.

T H White became better known as a Devizes company but in 1914 they still had their roots in Market Lavington. They not only had a stand, they took out adverts in the catalogue.


Possibly the busiest Market Lavington person was James Welch. This was the grandfather of Peggy Gye, not her father although we know from his diary that he attended the show. James Welch senior was the secretary of the Wiltshire Agricultural Association and no doubt as the paid employee he was enormously busy ensuring everything ran smoothly.

Yes, we feel very lucky to get this catalogue.

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