A day out by coach -1935

April 9, 2021

By 1935 there had been a large bus depot in Market Lavington for many decades – see Lavington and Devizes Motor Services and The bus company in Market Lavington. However, in 1932, it was taken over by Bath Tramways. There was still a good service, enabling Market Lavington villagers to take trips out to many destinations. This was, no doubt, much appreciated in those days when most families would not have had a car.

At Market Lavington Museum, we have a list of all the coach trips available in September 1935.

There were quite a range of options each day.

For example, on 1st and 22nd September, you could take a day trip to Southampton or have a seaside day out at Swanage or a half day in Bournemouth. On the same dates there was a more local option of going to Bratton and Westbury for an evening outing.

Visits weren’t limited to weekend days. Retired folk would be available on weekdays and many women didn’t have paid work in the 1930s.

Pick up points were in the villages of Market Lavington and Potterne and the local market town of Devizes. Depending on the location of the destination, the coach would either start off in Devizes or in Market Lavington.

The prices given are in pre-decimal currency. For example, 7/6 means seven shillings and six pence. There were twelve pennies in a shilling and twenty shillings in a pound, though none of the tours cost anything like as much as a pound. However, the average pay was about £300 for a whole year’s work in the mid 1930s.

The final page of our coach tour information is for outings to special annual events such as carnivals and fairs.

Lavington had its own telephone exchange at the time. The two digit telephone numbers indicate that not that many households were on the phone.

Brownies hair pins

April 8, 2021

Several of our recent blog posts have featured the department store in Market Lavington. (See A sign of the times, More sign writing at Lavington House and A ghost sign.) This business was run for a long time as Mr Walton’s Department Store. When alterations were being done there in the mid twentieth century, this little packet was found.

It contains hair pins – not the tight hair grips that slide in to hold hair in place, but the rather more open pins used for securing a bun.

The Brownies brand featured a one of those little fairy folk on its label. Our pins, contained in a simply folded square of paper, were coloured to match brown hair. The japanning mentioned on the pack was a lacquering process.

A well travelled hat box

April 7, 2021

Technically, this item of luggage should probably not be in Market Lavington Museum, as it belonged to a West Lavington lady, so came from about a mile from our collection area.

It is a hat box, made of leatherette, cardboard and artificial silk with chrome fittings. It is obviously well travelled, as it it is covered with labels showing that it made the long sea journey between Sydney, Australia and London. on the P & O ship, RMS Stratheden. The white label shows that it had arrived in Sydney from Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. A second white label gives a clue to the date of the journey.

The date is not clear, but in the 1950s.

The owner of the case was Mrs Holloway.

So, this simple piece of luggage had travelled across the world about 70 years ago, before finding a home in a museum about a mile from the owner’s Wiltshire home.

A ghost sign

April 6, 2021

A couple of our recent blog posts, A sign of the times and More sign writing at Lavington House, have looked at the slogans painted on the building which for many years was a thriving department store on the crossroads in Market Lavington.

At the museum, we have this lovely postcard dating from 1913.

Walton’s Stores occupied all of these buildings. The shop on the left of the card extended from the brick building on the corner of the High Street into the stone building on White Street. This building has a scroll painted by the upstairs window. On closer inspection we can read what it said …

… The noted boot and shoe warehouse, Lavington and Salisbury. An earlier postcard, from 1904, shows the same signage.

However, at some point, the sign was changed. By the time of the Parapet Collapse on this building in 1993, we can read the later wording …

… The house that value built.

The department store has long gone though, in April 2021, the scroll sign is still there but has turned into a ghost sign, with the more recent writing fading away to reveal what had been painted there well over a century ago.

More sign writing at Lavington House

April 5, 2021

In our blog post A sign of the times, we looked at the signs painted on the department store at the crossroads in Market Lavington to help us with dating postcards.

Above the shop door, there is a small area of brickwork set at an angle to the High Street and White Street. This has also provided an opportunity for the signwriters.

In 1904, Walton’s Stores had Cash Supply Stores painted in this place.

The village celebrated the coronation in 1911 and the shop owners showed their support for the new King George by having GR and a crown painted above the door.

Of course, this was a one off celebration and the special signwriting was overpainted in white by the following year.

This is a 1912 postcard, but the wall was still white on one from 1923.

However, a new sign appeared there in the 1930s.

We see that the store is advertising itself as a Noted House for Boots and Shoes.

By the 1950s, E Hayball was the owner’s name above the door and the wall sign had been hidden under white paint once more.

A glazed crock

April 4, 2021

In the kitchen at Market Lavington Museum, we have a large earthenware crock. As it measures 50 cm in diameter and stands 32 cm high, it is tucked away under the kitchen table.

It dates from the mid 20th century and its record suggests that it could have been used with a lid for storing bread or that it might have been used for preserving eggs.

Domestic hens can lay an egg daily through the summer months, but go off lay during the winter. In the spring, a hen might lay a clutch of eggs and then go broody, sitting on them for 21 days until the chicks hatch. This means that a poultry keeper with a few hens might have a glut of eggs at times and then none in the winter. Before the days of home refrigerators, it was hard to keep eggs fresh for very long. To overcome this problem eggs could be preserved in waterglass.

Sodium silicate powder was bought from the chemist and mixed with water. The solution was put in an earthenware crock with sufficient depth to just cover the eggs, which were wiped clean with a dry cloth before being immersed. The waterglass would turn cloudy and seal the eggs, preventing bacterial attack. They could then be stored for several months. When an egg was needed, its shell would be washed with water before the egg was used for baking.

A sign of the times

April 3, 2021

Market Lavington Museum’s founder, Peggy Gye, collected postcards of the village, which provide wonderful snapshots of the area in times gone by. However, it is not always easy to put a date on the view and detective work is required. Sometimes the style of handwriting on the picture helps us to know which of the village photographers produced the card, which gives us a clue as to the likely range of dates. In this blog, we will focus on Lavington House, the one time department store on the crossroads in the centre of the village.

The various owners of this shop kept sign writers in business over the years. We do not need to worry about dating this one, as our records tell us it was about 1909.

However, this similar view just says undated on its record.

A closer look shows the words Up to Date Stores have been painted where the previous picture showed Lavington House. We have recently become aware of another copy of the same card, postally used. It has a postmark date of 1915, so we now know the image dates to 1915 or earlier.

But, we have clear evidence that in 1911 it did not have the Up To Date sign writing as there is an L on the edge of the coronation postcard.

Another view from the church we have recorded as about 1912 has Lavington House as on the 1901 picture, so maybe the Up To Date Stores was painted on Mr Walton’s shop between 1912 and 1915.

For more information on this store see Mr Walton’s Department Store and Brown Bros of Lavington House.

One a penny, two a penny, Hot Cross Buns

April 2, 2021

This Market Lavington Museum blog entry is scheduled to be published on Good Friday. Traditionally, this was the day for eating hot cross buns, with the cross on the top a reminder of the crucifixion. Nowadays, hot cross buns seem to be available for sale over several months, but this was not always the case.

Joy, the daughter of Jim Sheppard, Tip-Top baker of Easterton, told us in her oral history recording that orders were taken in advance for these fruit buns. They were made through the night from Maundy Thursday into Good Friday and were delivered to customers early on the Friday morning. Joy remembered that they cost 6d for seven buns. ( There were forty sixpences in a pound.)

Jim Sheppard prided himself on his high quality baking and entered baking competitions in Bristol. He won certificates for baking Hovis bread and, in 1932, won a gold watch for his Hovis lunch cake.This achievement was proudly printed on his paper bag, which we have in Market Lavington Museum.

For more information, see Jim Sheppard, Jim Sheppard again, Easterton bakery supplies and The baker’s delivery van.

Male attire – late Victorian and Edwardian

April 1, 2021

Queen Victoria died in 1901 and the Edwardian era followed from 1901-1910. Male clothing was similar across the late 19th century and the early 20th century, before the first world war. We can revisit Sarah Gye’s photo album for some pictures of men, dressed for formal photographs during this period.

Sarah had many siblings, who feature in the album. She was the aunt of Tom Gye (husband of Market Lavington Museum founder, Peggy) who was able to name his aunts and uncles for us. See Tom Gye’s Dad, Aunts and Uncles.

We have already seen Sarah’s father, James.

He died in 1901, so is wearing late Victorian clothing. The three piece lounge suit was very much the standard men’s wear at the time. The chain across James’ waistcoat would have been attached to a pocket watch.

His son, Joseph Edward, often called Teddy, was born in 1883, so must be wearing late 1880s clothes in this picture.

He has a suit worn with an Eton collar underneath. These collars were worn from the mid 19th century onwards, becoming very popular in Edwardian times. This photo predates Sarah’s album, so we cannot assume that all her pictures date from her receiving the album in 1897, as Joseph is obviously younger than fourteen in this image. Indeed, this later picture of him probably dates from the late 1890s.

He is now wearing a three piece suit, with the fashionable high pointed collar on his shirt and the outfit is topped off with a flat cap.

William Thomas’s clothing is similar, though worn with a watch and chain and a bowler hat.

Young Jeremiah George is dressed as the adults, with a three piece lounge suit and watch and chain. He has a bow tie and is carrying a hat, possibly a bowler.

We know this is a late Victorian outfit as he died as a young man in 1899. He had breathing difficulties and his nephew Tom Gye wondered if perhaps he had tuberculosis.

Our final male photo from Sarah’s album has not been named by the family.

He is probably wearing more formal attire. The jacket collar appears to be velvet and he has a top hat, which was more formal than a bowler or flat cap.

Lowestoft border plates

March 31, 2021

Market Lavington Museum preserves the history of Market Lavington and Easterton in Wiltshire and not Lowestoft in Suffolk! However, this pair of plates does fit our collection criteria.

They were made by Booths, a firm operating in Tunstall near Stoke on Trent from 1891 – 1948 (and then becoming Botts and Coleclough Ltd). The design is called ‘Lowestoft Border’ but the local connection is that they were used by the Welch family of Market Lavington in the early twentieth century.

They are probably about 100 years old and in good condition and look lovely on display on the shelves in the museum kitchen.