Cottage life during WWII

We have already covered some of Maurice Came’s talk about his memories of life as an evacuee in Market Lavington in An evacuee in Lavington and More evacuee memories. The write up we have of this talk gives us a wonderful snapshot of a time with fewer ‘mod cons’. Whilst mains services were quite common in towns before the war, this was often not the case in villages. (World War II – 1939 -1945)

Market Lavington had been connected to a mains water supply in the 1930s, but Maurice remembers that many still did not have this in their homes. They collected water from Broadwell, some using yokes to carry their buckets. One of these yokes can be seen on the wall in Market Lavington Museum, just above the cobblers display.

Sewers weren’t laid in Market Lavington until the late 1950s. (See Market Lavington Sewerage Scheme.) Maurice remembered homes having earth closets. These privies were housed in little huts in the garden. A toilet seat was placed on top of a removable container. Earth or ashes were shoveled over the contents, which were later buried in the garden. Alternatively, the buckets were collected by Dawnie Cooper, who took them to the allotments along The Clays.

The Clays, Market Lavington

Although the village had had electricity since 1927, Maurice recalled that many cottages were not connected to the supply and people used paraffin lamps and cooked on Primus stoves.

We will consider some more of the experiences of this evacuee lad another time.

2 Responses to “Cottage life during WWII”

  1. John Young Says:

    Not quite Market Lavington but when I was a child I lived at Cornbury Farm Cottages near Gore Cross. We had mains water from Holloways from1951 onwards. Water had previously come from a well with a hand pump with a high up handle that I could just reach which was by the kitchen window. The pump served both not 1 and 2 cottages. Cooking was done on an iron kitchen range.
    The lavatory was a bucket under a wide wooden seat in a separate brick outhouse. The contents were buried in a trench in the vegetable patch.
    There was no electricity until 1953 so we had an Aladdin paraffin lamp with mantle as the main lamp and candles elsewhere in the cottage. I still have the Aladdin lamp and the candle holder which we used upstairs. I also still have the Valor Junior paraffin heater which was used in the bedrooms. It’s a bit like Trigger’s broom as it is on its third chimney, has had countess wicks and a replacement red viewing glass over the years !

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      Thank you very much for this informative comment, John. It all helps to put flesh on the bones of our knowledge of local history. Actually, Market Lavington Museum preserves the history of anywhere that was ever in the parish of Market Lavington. In former times, Gore was an exclave of Market Lavington (and Fiddington was part of West Lavington) so Gore does fit our collections policy. I’m not sure of the exact boundary and how that fitted with Cornbury Farm.

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