Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

A saucepan and steamer

September 15, 2020

As Market Lavington Museum is housed in a Victorian cottage, we are fortunate in having a kitchen range in the building, which provides a focal point for our household displays. (See A permanent display)

On one side of the range, we have this saucepan.

It dates from about 1900 and comprises a very heavy pan, a lighter steamer and a lid.

It was made by Kenrick and the pan holds 12 pints. (That’s nearly 7 litres.) The base of the pan is 22cms in diameter.

Most modern kitchens have a cooker top with room for four pans and often have a separate electric kettle, but this range has space for just two pans, or a pan and a kettle. Being able to steam the vegetables over whatever was cooking in the saucepan would have been a practical solution to having limited hot plate space.

A sundial face

September 14, 2020

In the past, we have written about the sundial on St Mary’s Church in Market Lavington. (See Restoration of the Market Lavington Church Sundial – April 2004 and J L Maddox and sundials.) Now we will consider a much smaller sundial.

This rather battered, octagonal sundial face was dug up on the site of the Grove Farm housing estate in Market Lavington and given to the museum in 1986. We know nothing more about it. Who owned it? Where was it used? How old is it? All we can say is that it is a small object, measuring 8.75 cm across.

Looking at a modern sundial, we can see that sundials should have a ‘pointer’ called a gnomon fixed at rightangles to the dial face.

As the earth moves on its daily orbit, the sunlight shines on the gnomon from different angles and the shadow cast lines up with numbers on the dial face, indicating the hour.

10 o’clock

The little sundial from Grove Farm has lost its gnomon which, presumably, would have been fixed in place over the three holes.

Fancy plasterwork

September 13, 2020

We have considered the work of the plasterer when we looked at the cornice mould we have in Market Lavington Museum. (See A cornice mould and The cornice moulding tool again.)

We also have some small pieces of fancy plasterwork, saved from Market Lavington Manor.

This eight petalled rose would presumably have been central in the ceiling. Our records suggest it dates from the nineteenth century and might have been in the hall. Indeed Market Lavington Manor was only built in the middle of that century. It is now used as the junior boarding house of Dauntsey’s School in West Lavington.

We have one more piece of ceiling plasterwork from the same building.

This features two fir cones and a stem.

We are very short of photographs of the inside of this building and would love to know more about it if anyone has copies of pictures they would like to donate to the museum.

A washing dolly

September 12, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum we have various laundry items that would have been used in the days before washing machines. (See Wash Day Items). In many homes, Monday morning was taken up with doing the weekly wash.

In the front of this picture we see objects known as a washing dollies or possers. We will focus on one of these in more detail. Some dollies look like stools on a long handle, but the one on the right has a copper head.

It looks very familiar to our curator, who can remember using a similar one as a child in the 1950s. The museum posser is said to date from about 1910. A large barrel shaped container, called a dolly tub, was filled with hot water and soap flakes and the clothes were put in the water. It was good practice to start with the least grubby items, such as sheets, and to wash more soiled clothes later.

The posser was pushed up and down in the tub until the dirt came out of the clothes and into the water. Then the clothes would be lifted out of the hot water with wooden laundry tongs and squeezed through the rollers of a mangle, returning the surplus water to the dolly tub. The clothes were rinsed and mangled again before hanging out on the clothes line.

The base of this posser head has holes, allowing the entry of water squeezed from the clothes during the possing action. This water could then leave the head through the holes around the edge of the upper part of the posser.

Another candlestick

September 11, 2020

Recently we’ve looked at some of our candle holders (Candlelight, Candle holders) and may have looked back at The Candle Lantern. Today’s little item might have an interesting story to tell, if we did but know it.

It is the top part of a candlestick and was found in Market Lavington by a metal detectorist. Our records say it is lead/pewter. It certainly feels as heavy as a leaden object.

It is patterned with scrolls and lines and has a socket for a candle in its somewhat damaged top.

We do not know its age or what its base was like and whether it had a handle, so just appreciate it for what it is – another fragment of local history.

Tom Gye’s birthday mug

September 10, 2020

Our museum collection includes three mugs commemorating the date of birth of a local resident. We have already seen those personalised for May Potter and for Ethel Gye. (May Potter’s Birthday Cup and A birthday mug)

Ethel’s brother Tom was born 100 years ago in 1920 and a mug was produced for him too.

Unlike his older sister’s beautifully preserved mug, Tom’s is the worse for wear and the golden writing is hard to read.

By rotating the mug, it is just possible to make out his name, Thomas, Edward James Gye, with Born August 10th 1920 written below. Only the maker’s mark on the base is clearly preserved.

Tom will be remembered by many in Market Lavington for running the family building firm on White Street, for being captain of the bell ringers at St Mary’s Church and for being the husband of our museum founder, Peggy. For a pictorial life history, see Tom Gye.

Candle holders

September 9, 2020

At Market Lavington Museum, we have various candle holders, some more elaborate than others. These two are of similar, simple designs, providing support for the candle, a drip tray for the molten wax and a carrying handle.

This blue china candle holder is more modern than most of those in our collection, dating from the 1920s. It was probably for use in a bedroom but, with a handle, might have been carried up the stairs or across the bedroom from a washstand to a bedside table.

Of a similar, but squatter design, we have an enamel candle holder from the 1890s.

This one belonged to the Baker family, who had a whitesmith’s shop in Market Lavington and sold items such as this. They later emigrated to Canada.


September 8, 2020

Before the introduction of electricity to Market Lavington homes in 1927, local folk were dependent on oil or paraffin lamps and candlelight during the hours of darkness. In addition to The Candle Lantern we also have various other candle holders in the museum.

This one, dating from the late 1900s, has a hinged front which can be lifted open or closed down.

This late Victorian candlestick has a wide base, to avoid accidents caused by knocking it over. It has a hood, sheltering the flame from draughts, or protecting the wall behind, if it is placed at the edge of a room.

Clyffe Hall is a large house, standing in extensive grounds, in Market Lavington. It was later used as an hotel. This candle holder, dating from 1918, has a support for a lampshade, which no doubt provided more elegant lighting befitting for such surroundings.

We will take a look at a couple more of our candle holders next time.

What is this?

September 7, 2020

We like to think that our museum record cards will give us information about our artefacts, such as who owned it, how old it is and what it was used for. This item is described as a wooden utensil, with a circular hole and a knob in its handle. It is 33cm long. It does not appear to have been used.

We hope that one of our readers might post us a comment, telling us what it is.

Our only thought is that it is a bit like this, which is not a museum object.

This one is a jam making ‘spoon’. We wonder if the museum utensil was made for stirring jam, getting into the corners of the pan. Maybe the knob was to rest on the pan rim, preventing the tool from slipping int the jam.

Now this is all surmise. Do let us know if you have some knowledge or a better idea.

A weeding tool

September 6, 2020

All the objects in our museum collection should have some connection to Market Lavington or anywhere that has ever been in the parish of Market Lavington. Some are very specifically local whilst others are more generic, but have been used in the village.

This is one such item.

It’s a garden tool, now missing its wooden handle. We imagine this would have been a long handle.

It has a prong and a curved section, allowing a pivoting and lifting action. It would have been used for prising weeds with long roots, such as dandelions, out of the ground. The plant would have been trapped in the prong at ground level, then the handle would have been lowered. Providing the soil was moist enough, the dandelion would have been removed, complete with its tap root.

(All museum artefacts are allocated individual numbers. These are applied using methods approved by professionals in the museum service and can be removed if needed.)

Dandelion weeding tools are still available, with long or short handles, but modern ones tend to be lighter in weight and made from a stainless metal in contrast to the heavy iron tools of yesteryear.