A Doubleday and Francis bill

There has been a butcher’s shop in Market Lavington for a very long time and it is still present in the centre of the village. Now trading in the name of Douse (see our previous blog), it was formerly owned by the Doubledays, later Doubleday and Francis. For further information and photographs, see The butcher’s shop, Butcher’s vans and Butcher’s delivery.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a bill headed Doubleday and Francis, written in 1940. Nowadays, we think of paying for our food at the time we purchase it, but our old bills often indicate that settling up was done at a later date. Maybe this was due to provisions often being delivered, in this case in the butcher’s van, and the purchaser might have paid the bill later, in the shop.

In this instance, the Drury’s bill was written on 20th July 1940 and payment was received on 1st August. Ten pounds (about 4 1/2 kg) of salt pork cost 11 shillings and 8 pence, so this meat was priced at 1s.2d per lb (pound weight).

The billhead itself contains some fascinating detail.

We see that this butcher’s business was established in 1730 and that they not only sold the raw meat, but made sausages and rendered the pig fat into lard for sale to their customers.

The telephone number reminds us that Lavington had its own exchange, before local telephones were transferred to the Devizes exchange. The two digit ‘phone number is evidence that far fewer people had their own phones back in the 1940s.

The coat of arms shows a pig, a sheep and a cow along with three people, one of whom has a butcher’s cleaver. The Latin text is also pertinent. It comes from Psalm 145, which translates in the King James Bible as ‘Thou givest them meat in due season.’

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