Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

A Doubleday and Francis bill

April 30, 2021

There has been a butcher’s shop in Market Lavington for a very long time and it is still present in the centre of the village. Now trading in the name of Douse (see our previous blog), it was formerly owned by the Doubledays, later Doubleday and Francis. For further information and photographs, see The butcher’s shop, Butcher’s vans and Butcher’s delivery.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a bill headed Doubleday and Francis, written in 1940. Nowadays, we think of paying for our food at the time we purchase it, but our old bills often indicate that settling up was done at a later date. Maybe this was due to provisions often being delivered, in this case in the butcher’s van, and the purchaser might have paid the bill later, in the shop.

In this instance, the Drury’s bill was written on 20th July 1940 and payment was received on 1st August. Ten pounds (about 4 1/2 kg) of salt pork cost 11 shillings and 8 pence, so this meat was priced at 1s.2d per lb (pound weight).

The billhead itself contains some fascinating detail.

We see that this butcher’s business was established in 1730 and that they not only sold the raw meat, but made sausages and rendered the pig fat into lard for sale to their customers.

The telephone number reminds us that Lavington had its own exchange, before local telephones were transferred to the Devizes exchange. The two digit ‘phone number is evidence that far fewer people had their own phones back in the 1940s.

The coat of arms shows a pig, a sheep and a cow along with three people, one of whom has a butcher’s cleaver. The Latin text is also pertinent. It comes from Psalm 145, which translates in the King James Bible as ‘Thou givest them meat in due season.’

Butcher’s billheads

April 29, 2021

There has been a butcher’s shop in the building opposite the Market Place in Market Lavington for hundreds of years. (See and The butcher’s shop.) The present owners have traded there since 1964 and, in Market Lavington Museum, we have some billheads from the Douse butcher’s shop dating from the 1980s and 1990s.

We can see that the Douses used to have shops in both Devizes and Market Lavington, but that the Devizes address was crossed through on later bills.

By 1998, a new style billhead was used, with just the Market Lavington shop printed at the top.

These might seem rather recent to have become museum items, but we rely on items being saved now to become history in the future.

(See also A butcher’s bag.)

Robert and Lea Merritt’s family

April 28, 2021

We have already seen A Family Bible belonging to the Merritts in the late 1700s and noted that some of their children were vaccinated against smallpox (They was nockalated).

Robert and Lea had a lot of babies between 1778 and into the 1790s and their births were recorded on the first pages of the bible.

Their first child was John and he arrived on the 5th day of November at 6 o’clock in the morning in the year of 1778.

Their next child was a daughter, Jane, born at 5 o’clock in the morning on 30th December 1780.

The following births were also recorded with names, dates and times.

Robert – 1782, William – 1784, James – 1785, Elizabeth – July, year illegible, Thomas – 1787, Ann – 1788, Sarah – 1790, Elizabeth – 1791, Ann – 1794, William – December, year illegible.

Some of the names are used twice, so we imagine not all the infants survived, but deaths aren’t recorded in this bible.

It is, perhaps, pertinent that one of the church services (printed in our volume before the actual bible commences) is the Churching of Women.

Market Lavington Museum under wraps

April 27, 2021

Market Lavington Museum is housed in a building erected as a home in the 1840s and is feeling its age. At the time of writing, in Spring 2021, we await some essential building work .

Normally, we take a pride in displaying artefacts connected with the history of Market Lavington and Easterton and enjoy sharing them with our visitors.

This is how the kitchen, with its range, looks in normal times.

With builders expected imminently, we needed to move and protect items on open display and the scene in the kitchen at present looks like this.

There is a similar situation in the living room, with displays dismantled, artefacts wrapped and protected and stored away from dust and damage.

When the remedial work has been completed, we will take the opportunity to freshen up the paintwork, consider which items need relocating and then begin work on new displays.

We apologise for being unable to reopen in May as we would have wished and look forward to welcoming back our visitors when all the work has been done.

Music at the Drummer Boy

April 26, 2021

The Drummer Boy public house in Market Lavington, formerly called the New Inn, is no more, being one of several pubs in the village, which have now closed.

Known as The Drummer Boy from the 1970s, it was situated opposite St Mary’s Church. For more information on this establishment, see The Drummer Boy Pub.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have various items connected with this pub, including the Drummer Boy sign and an outside lantern. We have various paper artefacts too, including its curry menu (see Drummer Boy memories) and an advertisement for a Rock and Blues music event featuring Bob Smith (see A memory of the Drummer Boy).

There were concerns in the village about the suitability of this site for live music, as can be seen in our poster below.

Of course, all is quiet there now. The pub is no more and the buildings in the area are mostly residential, although the Old School opposite is let out for a variety of clubs and events.

Emma’s album again

April 25, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum, we have this unprepossessing album.

Well, a very close look does show that its page edges were gilded. This book’s local provenance rests on the fact that it was found in the stables of the house on Parsonage Lane, now known as The Racquets Court. Our previous blog, Emma’s Album gives much more information about this book, which dates from the 1830s and shows some of its content. We will now look at more of the pages inside.

It contains many hand written poems and pictures on its colourful pages, though some of the writing is faded and hard to read, but it provides a fascinating insight into the pastimes and customs of almost two hundred years ago.

The subject matter of the poems copied into the album is sentimental and sometimes melancholy and includes such titles as ‘ The Baptized Flower’, ‘To My Love’ and ‘The Wreck’.

One of the full page poems is called ‘The Love Rose’.

The writing on this page is clearer than on others, so we will take a closer look at the first verse.

‘I’ll call for thee a flow’ry wreath,

And twine it with thine hair.

Or weave a garland sunny bright,

To deck thy brow so fair.

The bee-sipped blossoms sweetly glow

When clad with morning dew;

But from thy blushing face they’ll gain

Quicker, brighter hue.

Below the last verse there is a signature, Charles R and the date 10th April 1837.

Some of the album’s pages are plain. Others have small embossed frames, suitable for surrounding little verses or pictures stuck in by the owner.

We will look at some more pages from this album on another occasion.

Receipts from Mac’s Stores

April 24, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum we have quite a selection of bill heads and receipts. Many of these relate to purchases made by a Mr Ted Carter. He lived in Marston, but used many of the shops and businesses in Market Lavington. He bought a lot of supplies for building jobs and house decorating, so maybe that was his line of work.

Billheads often give us details of local businesses and their addresses and the receipts offer a fascinating insight into products available in the past and their prices. However, they often pose more questions than they answer. Today we will look at a collection of receipts from A E McGrath.

This 1949 receipt shows that Mr McGrath had formerly traded from Lavington Hill – the top end of White Street, leading up to Salisbury Plain. However, this address has been struck through as the business had moved to Church Street, the west end of the main road through the village. Mr McGrath was obviously able to supply building materials and seemed to work as a plasterer.

Five more receipts from 1949 and 1950 show A E McGrath trading as Mac’s Stores as a builder’s merchant and ironmonger and also providing goods for farmers.

Mr Carter’s requirements were cream paint, which he bought by the quarter gallon, which would be two pints, a brush, some lining paper, window stays and some Marvo white distemper.

Nowadays, we would probably paint new walls with a watered down emulsion paint. Distemper had the disadvantage of being powdery and could rub off and fade. It was made from whiting (powdered chalk or lime) and a glue made from rabbit skins. Later decorators needed to remove distemper before repainting the wall or to seal and and paint over the distemper.

Ted Carter made more purchases in the summer of 1949.

These included a hundredweight (cwt) of cement and of sand, ten pounds (lb) of plaster, some putty, linseed oil and ceiling white. (In pre metric days, 112 lb = 1 cwt and 20 cwt = 1 ton.)

We have not yet found out which of the shops on Church Street was Mac’s Stores. Do please add a comment to this blog if you know. This postcard from about 1910 is too early. It shows Hopkins, in the distance, which sold similar products.

The postcard below, from about 1970, is probably too late for Mac’s Stores. By this time, Hopkins premises had become a private house.

A drinks bill for the hospital week committee

April 23, 2021

Before the National Health Service, Market Lavington and Easterton had a wonderful mutual benefit scheme. Every year, they organised a week of entertainment, including a carnival, providing lots of pleasure to local people. The monies raised from hospital week events and competitions were used to support local medical facilities and local families having a hard time due to illness.

We have featured the hospital week in many blogs. These include some great photos of the carnivals of the 1920s and 30s as well as a lot of information about the other events that were on offer during the week. You can find some of these at A Hospital Week poster, A Hospital Week Poster, At a Hospital Week Carnival in the 1920s, 1923 Hospital Week, 1921 Hospital Week, At the 1931 Hospital Week, Another Hospital Week gathering, Hospital Week, Hospital Week – mid 1930s, The hospital in the carnival procession and Hospital week children in 1927.

There was obviously a lot of planning to be done before the week of events and there was a committee involved in this. Here we have a bill from a local public house and hotel, The Green Dragon, who supplied the committee with some drinks.

This dates from 1927 and one of the items supplied was a firkin, presumably of beer. Wadworths, the local brewery in Devizes, makes 6X beer nowadays. We are intrigued by the ‘kisses’ after the word firkin. Did Wadworths ever make a 4X beer?

The Green Dragon also supplied a dozen stone ginger beers, a dozen lemons and a bottle of port.

The Green Dragon’s headed notepaper reminds us that Lavington had a railway station on the Great Western Railway line. This was quite a late addition to England’s rail network, opening in 1900 and only used until 1966.

We can also see that Lavington had its own telephone exchange. There were not so many homes and businesses with telephones and the Green Dragon just has a two digit number. By the time Lavington was subsumed into Devizes exchange, Lavington numbers had four digits. These became six digit Devizes numbers by preceding the old number with 81.

Drinks for the Old House

April 22, 2021

For many years, spinster Anne Pleydell Bouverie lived at the Old House on Parsonage Lane in Market Lavington. This home has a large garden, part of which is situated alongside our museum building. For more information about this lady and her home see Ann at The Old House and In The Old House.

At the museum, we have two letter cards penned by Anne Pleydell Bouverie over a hundred years ago.

In 1919, she was in her seventies and these letters are orders for some alcoholic drinks. (The Old Town Hall in the town of Devizes, in Wiltshire, will be better known to local residents nowadays as the premises of the Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society.)

Miss Pleydell Bouverie required some brandy and whiskey to be delivered. Her brandy orders were for three or four bottles at a time, but she was keen to find out if the price might come down in the future. She also had seven or eight bottles to return. We assume brandy was her favourite tipple as she only required one bottle of whiskey.

They was nockalated

April 21, 2021

At the time of writing in 2021, during the Covid 19 pandemic, mass vaccination is taking place at a rapid rate. The first vaccine, against smallpox, was developed by Edward Jenner back in 1796.

At Market Lavington Museum we have a leather bound family bible, from the Merritt family. It dates back to the 1700s. As was commonplace at the time, the blank pages in the book have been used to record family events. In this case, the births of the many children of Robert and Lea Merritt between 1778 and 1804 are written in the bible.

Less usually, we find this interesting piece of vaccine history in amongst the birth records. It concerns the inoculation of five of their children.

James, Thomas, Elizabeth, Ann and William was nockalated 25 day of February in 1799 by Doctor Collier, Sutton Wilts.