A builder’s day book

Amongst items given to the museum from the estate of Tom Gye we have a number of the day books used in the building trade. In these books each customer was recorded and indexed and the labour and materials used on jobs was recorded. Here we have one small entry – part of a much larger one, from 1968 and on to 1971.

Small entry from a Gye day book - this entry from 1968

Small entry from a Gye day book – this entry from 1968

The customer, having work done, was Wiltshire County Council. The site for the work was Easterton School. This vanished building was between Easterton Church and the junction between the main street and Kings Road. The day book does not record the actual nature of the job but it still makes for a fascinating document. We can see the costs involved for getting work done.

The top part of this document records the initials of workers and the hours they worked. Some of the initials are recognisable. T G is Tom Gye himself, for example. Most interesting, perhaps is that the work involved 42½ hours of labourer time which was charged at 11/6 per hour. That’s 57½p in post decimal money. It just sounds so laughably cheap nowadays but our curator recalls working as a labourer in a factory at about that time and earning 7/2½ per hour which worked at £14-10-0 (£14.50) for a 40 hour week.

It looks as though some of the work might have been repairs or extending a playground with ballast, cement and Mendip chippings.

Later in August, in preparation for the new term, the Gye firm had a job of sanding and revarnishing the desk tops at Market Lavington School. This was some 8 hours of work and cost £6 including the varnish. Other small jobs continued right up to the end.

The end came when both Easterton School and Market Lavington School were replaced by the new St Barnabas School. This opened on Drove Lane in 1971.

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