Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

Name that tool

September 25, 2020

Market Lavington Museum has a tool that is called a bodkin on its record. We think of a bodkin as a large, blunt, metal needle, used for pulling elastic, but our tool is not one of those.

It is 18cms long and made of wood, with a square cross section at one end and a blunt point at the other. It certainly meets our criteria of having a local connection as it was found at a house on Oak Lane in Easterton. It was in some cotton waste that had been used as insulation in a wall cavity.

Our best guess is that perhaps it was used for pushing rags through a hessian backing when making a rag rug. We have seen something similar called a rag rug proddy. Please do leave a comment if you have any ideas about what our object could be.

Black beaded trimmings

September 24, 2020

Market Lavington Museum houses a wide range of objects with a local connection. Here we have some fashionable late Victorian trimmings that were on sale in Walton’s Department Store on the crossroads in the village.(See Mr Walton’s Department Store, A part of Mr Walton’s empire?)

Queen Victoria wore mourning from the death of her husband, Prince Albert, in 1861, until her own death forty years later. It was the done thing for a widow to wear black mourning clothes for two years and those who had lost a parent to wear mourning for a year. As the months past, there was a gradual move into half mourning, which might have included sober colours, such as grey and lilac.

Beaded trimmings, such as these tassels, would not necessarily have been for mourning and might have enhanced other clothing too.

Some of the trimmings would have dangled and swished about, whilst others involved sequins attached to lengths of net, which would have been bought by the yard and sewn in place.

This little collection is not only a lovely representation of late Victorian fashion, but also reminds us that Market Lavington was a little town then, supplying a wider range of merchandise than our village shops nowadays.

A Victorian needle case

September 23, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum we have an etui, or small ornamental needle case.

This pretty, little, carved, wooden object is said to be Victorian. It has grooves round the outside, onto which thread could be wound.

One end can be removed, exposing a hollow tube for storing needles. It’s a delightful item and practical too.

Another posser

September 22, 2020

We have already looked at the copper headed posser on the right of this picture. (See A washing dolly)

To the left of the mangle, there is the other posser in our collection of laundry items at Market Lavington Museum.

This one is all made of wood, with a 91.5cm elm handle and an ash base. It would have been used to pound the clothes in a dolly tub full of soapy water.

The sturdy ash head is 4cm high and 21.5cms in diameter. This posser dates from the 1920s and was used in Easterton.

A saw set

September 21, 2020

No, not a set of saws, but a tool for setting the teeth on a saw. We have one of these in Market Lavington Museum and it’s over a hundred years old, dating from 1900-1910.

It was used at Gye’s builder’s yard on White Street in Market Lavington.

It is ‘foreign’ made, of iron, with a steel spring and was designed to bend alternate teeth of the saw outwards to either side of the saw blade.

Our records suggest that it has been decorated as a bird. It certainly has patterned decoration.

A rag rug

September 20, 2020

In our post A permanent display, we caught a glimpse of the corner of a rug on Market Lavington Museum floor, in front of the range. Here is the whole rug.

Hearth rugs were often put on the floor in front of a fireplace in the days before fitted carpets and central heating. They protected any larger carpet underneath from stray sparks when the fire was being poked. The kitchen floor in the old school cottage, which is now our museum, is made of brick. A rug by the range would have provided a bit of warmth for the feet of lady of the house.

We are told that our rug was made to a north country design, but was used in Market Lavington before making its way to the museum.

Our rug is hessian backed, but the backing is no longer sewn in place at one corner, allowing us to see the underside, where the rags are held in place with fawn wool. People still made rag rugs in the 1950s, but we doubt that many are made nowadays.

A Saxon floor tile

September 19, 2020

In Market Lavington, we are reminded of early inhabitants of our village by the street names Roman Way and Saxon Close. Our museum preserves the history of our neighbouring village, Easterton, too, where there have also been finds from those times. (See Roman Easterton for a glimpse of a Roman floor tile.) We have a fragment of a Saxon floor tile, found in Easterton, in our museum collection.

This floor tile, of fired clay, was found following excavation work in Oak Lane, Easterton. It was made by impressing a pattern into the clay with a die and then filling the depression with white clay. The surface was coated with glaze and fired. We think the whole tile would have measured about 12.5cm square.

This fragment suggests the tile might have had a design including a bird, as we may have a leg and talon on our piece.

Expert opinion dates our tile to sometime between 410 and 1066 AD. The art of making tiles like this then seems to have died out and been reintroduced from France in the 13th century, but with more complex designs.

A 19th century preserving pan

September 18, 2020

The title says it all, for we have very little information about this artefact at Market Lavington Museum.

Our records suggest this pan dates from the 19th century and is made of a copper alloy. It is quite heavy. Preserving pans are used for making jams and need a thick base to ensure the jam does not ‘catch’. Jams can require quite a long period of boiling to reach setting point and black burnt areas at the bottom of the pan should be avoided.

As preserving pans go, this is quite a small example, with a diameter of 23.2cm and a height of just 11.8 cm,excluding the handle.

Slop pails

September 17, 2020

Many of the home comforts we take for granted were not available, even within living memory, for older inhabitants of Market Lavington and Easterton. Electricity came to Market Lavington in 1927, mains water in 1936 and mains sewerage in 1958.

To have a wash before bed or in the morning, water would have been brought from a well in the garden or carried in buckets from the pump at Broadwell or the dipping well at Northbrook. Warm water would have been heated on the range or in a copper and taken upstairs in a wide mouthed jug, called a ewer. The water would have been poured into a bowl placed on a washstand in the bedroom. (See Wash ewer here!)

Without drainage, the dirty water was not able to flow away through pipework as nowadays. It would have been collected in a slop pail. We have two of these in Market Lavington Museum.

This white china slop pail has a carrying handle for taking the soiled water downstairs in the morning.

The contents could be covered with a china lid, with convenient lifting handle. (The view from our museum windows shows that we can be found at the edge of St Mary’s Churchyard.)

If you find the white pail a little mundane, you might like our elegant rose patterned version.

This too has a carrying handle and a lid.

A bowl for shillings

September 16, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum, our records suggest that this little wooden bowl might have been made locally. Whether that is the case or not, it has a story to tell, for it was used annually at the St Paul’s Day service in St Mary’s Church in the village.

Bishop Tanner, whose father had been vicar in Market Lavington, left a bequest in his will to benefit various people in the village. (For more information on the Bishop and his bequests see Bishop Thomas Tanner, The Bishop Tanner Christmas Coal Charity, The Bishop Tanner Charity and The Better Sort of Parishioner.) Amongst the many recipients of his charity were poor folk, who were given a shilling at the St Paul’s Day service and these coins were contained in our little wooden bowl.

Before the decimalisation of British currency in 1971, there were twenty shillings in a pound. Perchance, the bishop bequeathing the shillings was called Bishop Tanner and a tanner was the colloquial term for a sixpence coin, which was worth half of a shilling.

A sixpence (tanner) and a shilling (bob)

Twelve large old pennies made a shilling and 240 of them equalled one pound.

Back in 1735, when Bishop Tanner died, a shilling would have gone a lot further than its ‘equivalent’ 5p today.

We are told that the little bowl ended up as a rest for a smoker’s pipe, before being donated to the museum.