Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

A pump plunger

January 18, 2022

In a previous blog, A barrelled cylinder pump, we introduced one of our artefacts at Market Lavington Museum and explained how it worked, using information from former resident, Tom Gye. He knew of three such pumps used at his family business between 1780 and the 1930s.

At the museum, we also have the pump bucket plunger from inside one of these old drinking water pumps.

This object measures 73 centimetres in length and would have been attached to a handle, which was pumped up and down, forcing water out of a spout. Our close up pictures show the ‘bucket’ made of wood and leather, with a weighted flap.

Attached to our record card for this very old survivor of a long gone system of water supply is an explanation of how it worked, written by Tom Gye.

A spoke-dog

January 17, 2022

No, this is not a talking pet, but a piece of equipment used by the wheelwright in Market Lavington. In truth, it is part of a naturally curved branch, measuring almost a metre in length. Spoke-dogs were sticks used to force the outer end of the spokes into the felloes (rim sections) when making a wheel.

There is more information about making cart wheels at the Gye family business in White Street if you read Tom Gye’s memories in Wheelwright memories and Charlie Burnett.

We have some of the wheelwright’s equipment, including this spoke-dog, on display in Market Lavington Museum. We hope to re-open to the public in June 2022, following a period of building work and re-organisation.

An embroidered sports cube

January 16, 2022

At Market Lavington Museum, we are very fortunate to have some of the embroidery created and inspired by Mary Greening. She came to Market Lavington in 1962, as the wife of the first headmaster at Lavington School, but became well involved in the community in her own right. See Mary Greening Embroidery and A dodecahedron for examples of her talent.

We have already featured the embroidered cube made by Mary and members of the local Derby and Joan Club in A Market Lavington winner in the Summer of Sport, but will now take a closer look at the stunning work on the six faces of the cube.

It was designed to be exhibited on a wooden stand and here we see it pictured in front of our newly exposed fireplace in what was the upstairs storeroom, but will become a visitor area when we re-open later this year.

Here we see the sport of cricket with its bat, ball and wicket, sewn by Betty Martin.

A close up view of the football face shows attention to detail both in content and in the choice of fabrics used for the different items sewn by club member, Norah Hitchings.

The ball looks very realistic and almost three dimensional and the ref’s whistle even has a cord attached.

The face representing swimming was produced by Betty Martin and Audrey Wilks made the bowls face.

Snooker was portrayed by Lily Fielding with all the balls on the baize ‘table’.

The final sport was darts, created by Norah Hitchings, who achieved an almost three dimensional look with her clever positioning of the arrows.

Unsurprisingly, this entry from the Market Lavington and Easterton Darby and Joan Club won the Wiltshire Regiment Cup and was displayed in 1988 amongst the winning entry group exhibits at the Age Concern handicraft exhibition.

The knickerbocker suit

January 15, 2022

If you were trying to visualise the youths at whom the content of The Boys Journal was aimed in 1863, an advertisement at the back of this issue might be of use to you. For the price of one guinea (one pound and one shilling, or 21 shillings) they could have had a knickerbocker suit.

A particular feature is described as a selling point. ‘The novelty consists of a device in trimming, in the graceful form of the Fern, covering the knee, at once forming a pretty and useful ornament – to that part which has hitherto been found to wear so soon in a play dress.’

Now, how many of our lads would be tempted into buying this garment knowing that the Cornhill Magazine of October 1860 had considered ‘Knickerbockers, surely the prettiest Boy’s Dress that has appeared these hundred years’?

Chemistry for Victorian youths

January 14, 2022

Our last few blog entries, beginning with The Boys Journal and Boy Soldiering, have featured pages from a periodical aimed at boys. The issue we have at Market Lavington Museum dates from May 1863. We wonder whether a magazine for the youngsters of today would be recommending their undertaking of chemistry experiments. The Boys Journal explained how to make nitric acid.

Nowadays, we would probably suggest not trying this at home, but doing it in a school chemistry laboratory, under the supervision of a science teacher.

However, an advertisement in the same journal is for chemistry sets, said to be safe for youths to use.

You could buy a chemical amusement chest, said to be free from danger, or you could purchase the youths’ chemical cabinet, containing useful apparatus for over sixty chemical tests. Not containing strong acids, these were deemed to be ‘perfectly safe in the hands of youth’.

These would not have been cheap to buy over 150 years ago, although there were various options, with the version in a stout mahogany case costing half a guinea, nearly twice as much as the one in a fancy paper case. The middle of the road choice was housed in a cedar case.

Butterflies and canaries

January 13, 2022

In recent posts, we have considered some of the many subjects covered by just one issue of a publication produced for boys in 1863. Besides stories, learning to swim and becoming a boy soldier, there were also articles relating to the natural world.

One featured butterflies and moths, how to tell them apart, how to breed them and preserve them.

This issue of the Boys Journal also gave information on keeping canaries and how to house them, breed them and keep on top of their ailments.

Whilst this magazine was not specific to the history of Market Lavington, it does give an indication of what might have been the interests of local boys well before the days of television and social media.

Work at West Down Camp

January 12, 2022

In our previous blog post, we mentioned that the Boys Journal of 1863, predated our part of Salisbury Plain being cleared for use as an Army training area. However, at Market Lavington Museum we have photos and other artefacts reflecting the takeover of this land by the military by the early 20th century.

The Gye family were a firm of builders, wheelwrights and undertakers in Market Lavington and we have a letter from 1903, referring to work they had carried out at West Down Camp, near Tilshead, just a few miles south of our village.

It would appear that the firm had completed their work at West Down South Camp and had submitted their bill twice but, by 11th August had not yet been paid.

The Gye’s had paid their labour and haulage costs and were requesting a speedy settlement of their customer’s debt.

Boy Soldiering

January 11, 2022

Those of us familiar with Market Lavington today, are well aware of the army training that takes place on Salisbury Plain, just to the south of our village. The Boys Journal issue of May 1863, which we introduced in our previous blog post, was produced at a time when there were farms rather than forces on the chalklands in our parish. Nontheless, one of the articles in the publication features Boy Soldiering and extols the virtues of young men engaging in drill practice for the good of their health and to produce trained volunteers, ready to swell the ranks, should their country need them.

Another page in this article explains the moves involved to react to the ‘face’ commands.

A further illustration shows how to execute arm movements.

This is but one of a wide variety of topics in the journal, designed to capture the interest of the young readers. We will look at more of the content of this magazine from almost 160 years ago in our next blog posts.

The Boys Journal

January 10, 2022

In our previous blog post, we looked at a Victorian magazine style book, aimed at working class adults. In our collection at Market Lavington Museum, we also have a copy of The Boys Journal, dating from May 1863.

Threepence was quite a lot of money in those days, so we guess it was read mostly by boys from more well to do families. It included articles on a range of topics as well as stories, some of them in serial form, to encourage the purchase of subsequent issues.

We will look at some of its content over the next few blog posts and gain some insight into was was deemed of interest and suitable for youngsters nearly 170 years ago.

The magazine measured about 21cm x 14cm. Some of the pages had illustrations and others were just text, which might have been quite small to read by the lamplight of a mid Victorian home.

Aside from the fiction, there were several articles giving instructions on how to do various hobbies and activities. This is part of an item about how to swim.

We imagine the illustrations in a modern boys’ magazine might include swimming trunks and maybe some supervision at a swimming pool.

Books for the people

January 9, 2022

Although Market Lavington Museum focuses on the history of our village and other areas within the parish, we do hold various generic items, which would have been used here and in many other places. These include several magazines.

This publication dates from Victorian times.

It is one of a series of Books for the People, published by the Religious Tract Society. This organisation was set up in 1799 and spent its early decades printing religious tracts. By the mid nineteenth century, it was producing reading material for working class families at affordable prices. Our copy is number 32 in the series and concerns Guy Fawkes and the gunpowder plot.

Here we can see the subjects covered in previous issues. They all had 16 pages and cost 1d (an old penny when there were 240 pence in a pound).

We will finish this post with a whole page advertisement from the ‘book’. Do look again on 5th November for more of the content about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot.