Market Lavington war memorial – but when?

We have recently acquired a postcard of the war memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard in Market Lavington.

Many of the postcards in our museum collection were produced by Alf Burgess or his sons, who ran the village photography business for many years. However, this is not one of theirs. The reverse side of this unused postcard merely reads, Postcard, with the words Communication and Address Only designating the areas to be written on. It does not even inform us that the picture is of Market Lavington, but we have enough local knowledge to recognise that it is. However, dating the picture is rather more of a problem.

Obviously, it was taken after World War I as it commemorates the local servicemen who lost their lives in that war. Our blog Dedicating the St Mary’s War Memorial informs us that this event took place on 15th August 1920, so our postcard is likely to be from at least a couple of years after the end of the Great War. That blog shows close ups of the names on the plaques, which are in alphabetical order of surnames. But Walter H Collins is inscribed out of order at the end of the list, after W surnames. Close scrutiny of our postcard shows that his name had not been added to the final plaque until after the photograph was taken. However, we do not know when this extra inscription was made, so cannot use that information to help us date the picture.

We do know that our postcard must predate the addition of the names of World War II casualties to the memorial. This 2015 photograph (© WMR-3174) from the Imperial War Museum’s site on war memorials, clearly shows the stonework added to the memorial, below the WWI inscriptions, for the plaques with the names of the servicemen who died in the second world war. These are not on our postcard, which must therefore be an interwar picture.

Beyond the churchyard wall and the roof of the bier house, built in the 1880s, we can see some lettering on a building in Church Street. It is on The New Inn, whose name changed to The Drummer Boy in the 1970s. The writing above the archway was also there on this earlier postcard. The top line reads Usher’s Fine Ales and, below, are the words Good Stabling and Cycling Accommodation. (The pub name had to change from inn when it ceased providing accommodation.)

For more information about this Church Street postcard, see Hopkins and the New Inn and Opposite Market Lavington School.

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