The Tip-Top Bakery in WWII

January 12, 2021

Jim Sheppard started baking bread in Easterton in 1926 in a rented bakehouse, but soon converted 1 Jubilee Cottages into a successful bakery and he was able to employ several assistants. (See Jim Sheppard and Jim Sheppard again.)

In this photo, Jim is on the right with one of his workers. His daughter, Joy, informed us that two of his staff went into the army and one into the navy in World War II. At the time, Joy was a pupil at secondary school in Devizes. She sometimes took time off to help at home and eventually left school to work in the bakery.

We have seen the delivery vans before. (See The baker’s delivery van.) Joy reminded us that the business had had a Reliant and a Raleigh three wheeler van over the years and that one or two ladies drove the van during the war. Joy herself got her provisional driver’s license as soon as she could, so that she, too, could help with the deliveries.

They kept the bakery going throughout the war but, in 1945, Jim Sheppard sold the business and Joy married and became a farmer’s wife in Easterton.

Easterton memories of 1930s

January 11, 2021

Joy’s oral history recording contains all sorts of snippets of information which build up a picture of life in Easterton village before the 1939-45 world war.

Market Lavington Museum blog has often focused on the carnival parades for Hospital Week which started in Easterton and made their way to Market Lavington. Joy remembered that the church fete held at Easterton Vicarage also featured a fancy dress parade with a route from White Street, along the High Street and up King’s Road.

Other summer memories included army convoys making their way through the village and up to Salisbury Plain, which kicked up a lot of dust. The children used to wave to the soldiers.

There was also a Sunday School coach outing to the seaside at Bournemouth or Weymouth. As well as the beach, there was excitement to be had by visiting Woolworths, where nothing cost more than 6d. (This was before the time that Woolworths had come to the local town of Devizes.) The children took sandwiches for their lunch, but stopped in Salisbury on the way home to buy chips.

Back in the village, Joy remembered the smells coming from Sam Moore’s jam factory, which employed a lot of local people. There was seasonal work to be had too. The women were involved in the hoeing, pea and fruit picking and so on and were able to take their babies and children to the fields with them.

Other employment in the village included joining the staff at the big houses, such as Kestrels and Queensfield. Joy remembered smartly dressed maids and cooks wearing uniforms and chauffeurs with peaked caps.

We are very pleased to have this recording to remind us about local everyday life over eighty years ago.

Buying an ounce of tobacco

January 10, 2021

At Market Lavington Museum, Joy’s oral history recording gives us insight into many aspects of life in the neighbouring village of Easterton in the years before the second world war. Her father, a baker there, smoked a pipe. Joy remembered being sent to Godfrey’s or Burnett’s shop to buy him an ounce of tobacco. (16 oz (ounces) = 1 lb (pound). A kilogram is about the equivalent of 2lb 3oz.) She would be given a shilling to pay for the tobacco.

For more information and pictures of the two shops, see Easterton Shop – 1930s and Easterton Shop in the 1930s.

The silver coin on the left is a shilling. (20s (shillings) = £1). There were twelve copper pennies in a shilling (so 240d = £1). Joy remembered that the tobacco cost elevenpence halfpenny an ounce, which left a halfpenny change, with which she could buy sweets.

Fruit chews were four a penny or a farthing each, so Joy could buy two chews with the change.

Britain did not convert to decimal currency until February 1971, although farthings were no longer in use by then.

Memories of an Easterton schoolgirl

January 9, 2021

Joy Sheppard’s oral history recording not only sheds light on her father’s Tip Top Bakery business, but informs us about what it was like to be a schoolgirl in Easterton village in the 1930s.

We have seen this photo in Easterton School children in 1934 and Joy named the pupils for us in Easterton School Children in 1934 – update.

This was Joy when she would have been about eight years old.

The school had two classrooms – the infants and the big room – which were divided by a removable partition. When the school doctor or the dentist made their annual visits to the school, or when the district nurse came to check for head lice, all the children had to crowd into one room for their lessons. Before the village hall was built, the only large buildings for public gatherings were the church and the school, which was used for socials, meetings, dances and concerts out of school hours.

Children were taught at Easterton School until the age of eleven, when they might move on to finish their schooling (at fourteen) in Market Lavington School or, if they passed an exam, at Dauntsey’s School in West Lavington or Devizes Secondary School.

Out of school, Joy remembered playing in the road with her friends. A B road runs through the centre of the village and it would not be a safe place for children to play nowadays, but Joy said a child would just announce, ‘Car coming!’ if it was necessary to move to one side for it to pass. The games they played were seasonal and included whip and top, hoops, skipping, marbles and ball games. Balls were thrown at and caught from the gable end of 24 High Street until the lady who lived there came out and told the children to go home.

(For more information and photographs of the school, see At Easterton School, Easterton School, Easterton School – 1928, Christmas at Easterton School, Easterton schoolboys in about 1906 and Easterton School – Then and Now.)

Other childhood activities involved going for long walks down to The Folly or up the hill to the edge of Salisbury Plain. The girls would collect snowdrops, primroses, cowslips and other wild flowers in season and also enjoyed gathering firewood to take home.

Thanks to Joy for all these memories. We will include more from her lovely recording on another occasion.

Easterton bakery supplies

January 8, 2021

We have met Jim Sheppard, one of the two bakers in Easterton, on several occasions. (See Jim Sheppard, Jim Sheppard again, A Paper Bag, Delivering the Bread and The baker’s delivery van.) His premises were half way along Easterton High Street, next door but one to the Methodist chapel (now a private house).

At Market Lavington Museum, we are fortunate to have an oral history, recorded by his daughter Joy, born in 1926, who moved to Easterton with her parents when she was one year old. Her childhood memories include details about obtaining the necessary supplies of baking ingredients.

She remembered heavy sacks of flour being delivered from either J & J Noad, millers of Seend, or from Humphreys & Bobbitt, millers from Bristol. (Apologies for any misspelling as our evidence is the spoken word.) The sacks were made of hessian, with the millers’ names printed boldly across them.

Yeast was delivered twice a week in sacking bags containing about 5 or 7lbs. Sometimes less yeast was required and the delivery man would cut the bag in half.

Other ingredients, such as margarine and dried fruit, came from Stratton, Sons & Mead, grocery wholesalers in Devizes. Their premises were where Marks and Spencers stands today. Their provisions were delivered in large wooden boxes, bound round with wire, which had to be opened with a claw hammer.

We are very grateful to Joy for her account, which provides us with so much detail about the bakery business in the 1930s. We will consider some of the baking produced by her father on another occasion.

A dog and a baby

January 7, 2021

We have recently looked at some of the merchandise sold by Alf Burgess at his shop on the High Street in Market Lavington. (See Cock o’th North.) However, his main line of business was photography and we have many examples of his work in Market Lavington Museum. Cartes de visite were a popular format in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Unfortunately, we rarely know who the subjects of our photographs are and the same is true of this one.

Most of our cartes de visite feature children or adults, but we do have another one with a dog in the picture. (See Unknown but lovely.)

Of course, if any our readers are able to identify the subjects in our photographs, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Cock o’th North

January 6, 2021

There was a craze for collecting crested china in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Market Lavington, Alf Burgess stocked many of these ornaments in his photographer’s shop on the High Street. (SeeAlf Burgess – Photographer for more information and a photograph of his business premises.) At the museum we have quite a little collection of these trinkets and have just acquired one more.

It is a china cockerel, about 10 cm tall and it will be displayed alongside a chair, a tank, a frog and many others. They all have a badge emblazoned upon them in the shape of a shield with St Mary’s Church on it.

Apparently, Alexander, the fourth Duke of Gordon was known as Cock o’ the North and this name is shared by a bagpipe tune, a whisky liqueur, a railway locomotive, a brambling bird and a greyhound race, so our ornament is in good company.

Not only does its badge link it to our village, but it also bears the name of the shop which commissioned it.

Alf Burgess set up business in Market Lavington in 1886. His earlier photographs just have his name on them. After his death in 1918, the business was continued by two of his sons trading as Burgess Bros. As this ornament has A Burgess & Son printed on its base, we assume it to have been on sale in the early 20th century.

Many of our Burgess crested ornaments were Arcadian ware, but this one is stamped with Clifton as the maker.

For more information on the Burgess photographers and some more of our crested ornaments, type Burgess in the search box on our blog’s home page.

The 12th day of Christmas

January 5, 2021

Today is the last of the twelve days of gifting by the true love in the song and, hence, the last page in the book made for Market Lavington Museum in 2019, linking the words of the verses to items in our collection. Not every museum could run to lords a-leaping, and neither could we! But, we did have a retired high court judge, who was a lord and lived in Market Lavington’s Clyffe Hall. We do have pictures of him in the museum but, latterly wheelchair bound, he wasn’t a-leaping.

We have several blog entries about Lord Warrington. See Lord and Lady Warrington at home, Lord Warrington and Friend, Lord Warrington relaxes, Lord Warrington and a pal and Lord Warrington of Clyffe. There is also information about his home to be found by typing Clyffe Hall into the search box on our blog home page at

That concludes our trip through the pages of –

We wish our readers a Happy and Healthy New Year and hope that we will be able to open the museum to the public later in 2021.

The 11th day of Christmas

January 4, 2021

Today, eleven ladies dancing were gifted by my true love in the Twelve Days of Christmas song. We managed to link this to our museum artefacts using photographs of dancing for children and adults in Market Lavington. We also have a dance ticket in our collection.

For more about local dancing see A Dance Card, A Dance in the 1950s, A Dance at Lavington School and A Charleston dress.

The 10th day of Christmas

January 3, 2021

On the 10th day, the recipient of many gifts was given ten pipers piping to add to yesterday’s rhythm department of nine drummers drumming. Although, for many decades Market Lavington had a silver band and, more recently for a few years, a wind band, our brass and wind sections certainly didn’t run to bagpipes. For the book linking our museum artefacts to the gifts in the song, we needed to consider other sorts of pipe and piping.

We have several clay pipes in the museum (see A clay pipe) and have recently had a display on smoker’s requisites, which featured many of them.

We also included sewer pipes in our book, as the museum has photographs of the laying of sewers in our two villages during the late 1950s, only just over sixty years ago. (See Market Lavington Sewerage Scheme, Sewerage 2, Sewer laying in Easterton and Slop pails.)