Peter and Bessie Francis retire

At Market Lavington Museum, we are very glad that the village has had various photography businesses, whose work has provided us with many images and artefacts for our collection. Peter and Bessie Francis were based in the photography shop on Church Street during much of the latter half of the twentieth century.

After a run of thirty-nine years, they decided to retire and newspaper reports from the time are preserved in one of our scrap books.

These provide us with details, reminding us of their work. Not only did they run the shop and various agencies (Not just a photographer’s shop), but they went out and about taking photos of over 3,000 weddings along with other local events. On one day, they managed to cover ten weddings!

They set up the business in 1948 and, from 1954, they rented their shop and flat above for 10 shillings a week, before buying it for £300. Later, in 1960, they extended into the shop next door, which had been a hairdresser’s and, formerly, a fish and chip shop, which they bought for £750.

This lovely photograph of the couple comes from the Devizes Times and News from 28th August 1987.

Bessie was the sister of Tom Gye, our museum founder’s husband. In the museum we have A work box from 1938 which Tom made for her 21st birthday.

Peter and Bessie were supportive of the museum, allowing us to use many of their images.


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