Where was the school garden?

Before Market Lavington had a secondary school and before St Barnabas Primary School was built, most of the children were educated in the old school building on Church Street. There was not much outside playground area, but we do know that the school used some land for gardening lessons.

The 1953 Women’s Institute file of Market Lavington history includes a short paragraph suggesting that it was at the bottom of Spin Hill. ‘At the foot of Spin Hill, near the stream, where the school now have their garden, there used to be a farmhouse.’

At the museum we have Grove Farm Plans, with a slightly inaccurate map showing where the road to Devizes crosses the Northbrook stream and Spin Hill is the road going uphill from the stream.

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We hope that one of our older local readers might be able to tell us just where the school did their gardening. Did they have a plot on the Grove Farm land or maybe it was across Spin Hill on land now built on as Bouverie Drive.

Our blog entry The bottom of Spin Hill includes this 1969 photograph of the bridge over the stream.

This shows the Grove Farm land on the left. Over the bridge and a little behind the photographer is the land where Bouverie Drive now stands. The whole area is less rural now as the rising land, covered in trees, on the far left of this picture is now the road leading uphill to the Canada Rise housing.

The Women’s Institute paragraph goes on to inform us that the old farmhouse was demolished in the middle of the 19th century, but that its dairy was built back into the hill, to keep it cool in warm weather. The only older picture we have, which is possibly of this area, is a sketch from the 1830s (See Parsonage Lane/Spin Hill) which does show distant building on the right of what may well be Spin Hill.

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Of course, the site of the old farm could have been further over to the left of our 1969 view. We realise none of our readers would remember the farm, but maybe someone could locate the school garden for us.

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