Archive for the ‘Museum’ Category

Bus adverts

August 3, 2022

In our previous blog entry, we looked at a Lavington and Devizes Motor Services timetable from the 1930s and may have spotted the little advertisement for Curry’s Motor Works in Devizes. At the time, this would just have brought the firm to the attention of the timetable owner and, no doubt, given a little boost to Fred Sayer’s bus company too. Modern viewers can also enjoy the picture of what we would now consider to be a vintage car.

Unfortunately, from the point of view of Market Lavington Museum, none of the adverts are for our very local businesses. However, we can still enjoy the drawings, such as that of shoes fashionable in the 1930s as seen in this advertisement for a shop in our county town of Trowbridge.

In our museum collection, we also have a return journey ticket from The bus company in Market Lavington.

It cost an adult passenger two shillings (one tenth of £1).

It also provided an advertisement opportunity, for a men’s clothing shop on the corner of the High Street in Devizes.

A 1930s bus timetable

August 2, 2022

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a book all about Lavington and Devizes Motor Services, which was owned by Mr Fred Sayer until 1934. You are most welcome to look at it, and many other local books, in our upstairs study room. For a shorter read about bus services in and around Market Lavington, see The bus company in Market Lavington.

Here is Fred Sayer, proprietor at the time of our timetable booklet, dating from the early 1930s.

Fred Sayer had a large fleet of buses and charabancs, based in the Market Place, used for regular services and outings.

This little booklet contains timetables for some of the many routes in the local area.

Routes 13 – 24 were run by our local firm.

Service 13 would have been a much used bus locally as it linked Market Lavington to the market town of Devizes, about six miles away.

An Oddfellows Rule Book

August 1, 2022

We have noted in several of our previous blog posts that some of the men in Market Lavington were members of the Oddfellows friendly society. At Market Lavington Museum we have an Oddfellows accounts book (see Friendly Oddfellows), James Gye’s membership card for 1899 (see An Oddfellow) and photographs of Oddfellows dressed for an occasion (see An Oddfellows photograph and The Oddfellows again).

We understand that this friendly society supported and visited the sick in the days before the National Health Service. It provided a sort of self help health insurance policy for its members. We find more details about the financial support given in our rule book for the local (Devizes) lodge of Oddfellows.

This little booklet dates from 1862 and informs us that the loyal Providential Dolphin Lodge of Oddfellows met at the Black Swan Hotel in Devizes (mid Wiltshire). This inn, on the edge of the Market Place, still exists in 2022.

There are several pages of rules, starting with explaining the mutual support for members, providing financial relief in sickness and a donation towards the funeral of a member or his wife.

Contributions in the form of an initiation fee and monthly payments went up according to the age of the member.

Benefits were paid weekly during periods of illness, starting at 12 shillings in the first year, but decreasing to 3 shillings after two years of sickness. A lump sum of £12 was paid at the death of a member, half of that if his wife died.

Members met for two hours every two weeks. It would be interesting to find out what they did at their meetings.

A copper funnel

July 31, 2022

Market Lavington Museum is situated in a house dating from 1846. One of its rooms is the kitchen, complete with its range.

This room provides an ideal setting for our many items of kitchenware, which were all used locally.

Amongst these, we have a copper and brass funnel.

Here it is perched in a tumbler. Looking inside, we see that it was designed to strain the liquid passing through it.

It dates from the late 19th century and is currently on display with other items of kitchenware dating from a similar period.

Doan’s Dictionary again

July 30, 2022

Almost ten years ago, we posted a blog entry about our copy of Doan’s Dictionary and Almanack – 1903 and we’ll now take a look at some of the other pages. People were tempted to acquire this booklet by advertising it as a free dictionary. You just paid one halfpenny (a 480th of £1) for postage.

We feel you would have needed very good eyesight or a magnifying glass to read the dictionary’s tiny print.

In much larger print were the many pages about kidneys and their possible problems, which could be alleviated by purchasing the Doan’s products advertised in the booklet.

Quite apart from being able to compare the type of publications available today with those of bygone decades and centuries, we enjoy the illustrations in our period magazines, which often remind us of the fashions in clothing of the period.

At the end of our flip through the pages of this publication, donated by our museum founder, Peggy Gye, we reach the back cover!

A Migratory Study 1851-61

July 29, 2022

We have often alluded to the work of Rowena – Student Teacher – 1958, who produced an interesting study of Market Lavington and was aided in her research by our museum founder, Peggy Gye.

We also have a study by an Open University Student, E E Joslin, a former health visitor in Market Lavington, who was also helped by Peggy much later, in 1982.

This project compared the census data in 1851 and 1861 to find out how many men remained in Market Lavington and how many had moved away. A 20 per cent sample was taken, so every fifth man on the 1851 census was sought ten years later. It is interesting to note the range of occupations of the local chaps. Of course, we do not know from this what the other 400 adult male residents were doing.

In 1851, about a third of the sample 20 percent of the male population over 10 years old were agricultural workers and a third of these were in migrants, having not been born in Market Lavington.

Ten years on and the total population here had dropped considerably.

The author explained that this was not due to mortality rates but by out migration, particularly of the younger men and possibly due to a depression in agriculture and low wages

Of the sample fifth of the adult male population, only about 40 per cent were still here in 1861. Very few were found in local towns, and most were not found at all, so the survey was rather inconclusive.

Modern students might note how much more computer based such studies are today. We imagine this project was produced on a typewriter. The census data found in local libraries was meticulously copied out by hand whereas, nowadays, it could be found on a computer search and printed out.

For those interested in studying local censuses, births and deaths etc, we do have printouts available for our visitors to view in Market Lavington Museum.

Clyffe Hall Hotel

July 28, 2022

We have featured Clyffe Hall in Market Lavington in several of our museum blogs and know that it was run as an hotel for many years from 1939.

We see it here on a postcard from the 1950s when it was an hotel but, unfortunately, this picture is a mirror image of the actual building!

We have recently been given more information about the early days of the hotel business there.

Clyffe Hall Hotel opened in 1939. It had 14 bedrooms for guests with more rooms for the owners, Stewart and Barbara Reynolds, and the staff.

Mr and Mrs Reynolds dispensed with the private gas lighting that was installed in the building and had electric lighting wired in. Wash basins were fitted in the bedrooms.

A commercial coke fired Aga was installed in the kitchen. The house already had background coke fired central heating fitted. The hotel was fully licensed.

Lavington railway station at nearby Littleton Pannell was important to the business. Both Mr Milsom at the repair garage and Mr Read at the cycle shop ran taxis, which enabled guests to be driven from the station to the hotel.

Mrs Reynolds ran the hotel successfully during the 2nd World War. After the war the business continued and wider car ownership benefitted the hotel in its attractive setting. Books were published about hotels; Let’s Halt a While’ was one where Clyffe Hall featured.

Lunch, tea and dinner were available for guests and event catering for weddings, parties and meetiñgs was undertaken.

After the war the house at Erlestoke, which had  been requisitioned, was used to run courses for senior army officers. It was called  ‘The Senior Officers Training School’ and provided business for Clyffe Hall, derived from people attending the course and their families. Nearby Dauntsey’s School also provided business for the hotel from parents visiting their children.

At the museum, we are always very grateful to people who can add to our knowledge and understanding of the locality, its people and buildings and provide extra information about our artefacts. This can be done by adding comments to our blog entries.

British Railways Rules – 1950

July 27, 2022

Another item found at Lavington Station, after it closed in 1966, was a book of rules which had been amended for use from January 1950 through to 1961.

These were national railway rules and so would have applied in the Great Western Railway area, including at Lavington Station.

The rules started with various terms and conditions of employment for railway workers.

Whilst many of the rules reflect common sense, they also remind us of changes in railway travel over the last seventy years.

Of course, we would not expect passengers to be permitted to board or descend from a moving train, but nowadays the doors are locked until the train is stationary, rather than all the individual doors able to be manually opened by the travelling public.

Rule 159 reminds us how much more acceptable smoking was back in the 1950s, with some compartments being permitted smoking areas, whilst others had No Smoking signs on their windows.

Rule 161, ensuring that ladies travelling alone should be found accommodation with other ladies if they made such a request to the staff, reminds us that some train carriages had single compartments and no corridor, which could make passengers vulnerable to unpleasant behaviour from other travellers. They would have had no recourse to help apart from by pulling the emergency alarm to stop the train.

And here are some of the staff at Lavington Station in 1954 to whom the new rules would have applied.

Northbrook Nursing Home

July 26, 2022

At Market Lavington Museum, we are so grateful to the people who put together scrapbooks of newspaper cuttings, recording and dating past events in our locality. This has not been done in recent years and we would be very pleased if a volunteer felt able to restart this for us.

Many Market Lavington folk still refer to the nursing home in the old vicarage on the High Street as Dalecare although it is now run as

But how many of us remember that, before Market Lavington Care Home and Dalecare, we had a facility known as Northbrook Nursing Home, although it was not on our road called Northbrook?

This advert in our 1982 to 1983 scrapbook reminds us of its imminent opening and, in November 1983, it was advertised again, presumably as an up and running concern.

A British Railways Ready Reckoner

July 25, 2022

Amongst the printed material items found at Lavington Station after its closure in 1966, was a ready reckoner, which we have recently accessioned into the museum collection.

It gives guidance on working out the weight of loads in freight trains in order to decide on the number of trucks and the speed of travel permitted for goods trains in 1950.

The trucks were classed as heavy or medium depending on what they were carrying.

So, coal, sugar, explosives, grain and bricks were heavy, whereas turnips, manure, cattle and salt were medium.

And here is a goods train at Lavington Station. We do not have a date for it, but believe that it predates our 1950s booklet.