Working men at Broadwell

For our final visit to the scene in the postcard picture of Broadwell, we are looking at the images of the menfolk there. For this, we will enter the realms of surmise and conjecture as we try to interpret who they could be.

The man with the dog, sitting by the water’s edge is holding a mallet, as is the bearded gentleman behind him. On the left of this snip, the man in the cap also has a tool shaft over his shoulder, though we cannot quite make out a tool head there.

Broadwell House, close by, was the home of some of the members of the Smith family. The Smiths were makers of Dew Ponds and one of the tools of their trade was The Smith’s mallet or A Boitle. (For more information, please see also The Smith Family at Work, How to make a dewpond, The Smiths, Jacob and Mary Ann Smith and Sybil Perry on pond digging.)

So, we do wonder if some or many of the people posing for the photo are Smiths, with pond making tools. We know of at least one of our readers who descends from this family, so maybe we will receive a comment on this theory.

UPDATE – further research at the museum suggests that the people may be Merritts, from the family of blacksmiths, who also lived by Broadwell.

Finally, there are two more men with ‘tools’. One has a trowel and one a crooked stick.

What a great image of Market Lavington and its inhabitants from over a century ago.

2 Responses to “Working men at Broadwell”

  1. James Perry Says:

    I am not sure if any are Smiths. I do not immediately recognise any and will have to dig out the old photos. None of the tools are boitles. I see sledgehammers and a trowel. The person with the trowel looks a little like a Gye who lived nearby and were builders, dewpond makers would have had little use for a pointed trowel. A more rounded version would be more appropriate. Also the sledgehammers would have been used by the wheelwright at Gye’s to hammer on the wheel tyre. There was of course a blacksmith next to Broadwell as well. So in short I have no idea but a lovely picture.

    • marketlavingtonmuseum Says:

      Thank you, James. It was all those mallets that suggested Smiths. However, more research at the museum leads to at least some of them probably being Merritts, who were the blacksmith (and band) family. We have now added that as an update near the end of this blog post.

Can you add anything to this or do you want to know more?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: