Posts Tagged ‘1900s’

Pages from a Gillman’s Devizes Directory

July 12, 2016

Our wonderful president keeps his eyes open and he found these pages on sale in a Devizes Market. The seller had suggested the directory dated from the 1890s. We think it dates from the Edwardian era. It has information about Easterton.

image002This, as is usual with directories, is not a full list of people but shows those in trade as well as the parish councillors. We can but wonder what a marine store dealer sold in Eastcott!

There is similar information for Market Lavington, stretching over two pages.


It is the presence of Charles Awdry as Lord of the Manor which tells us this is the 1900s. He bought the manor estate in 1902.


A useful addition to our stock of genealogy helps and it does include other local villages from Allington to Worton.


A curd agitator

March 18, 2016

Market Lavington parish is like Wiltshire in miniature. It has its chalk lands and it also has its cheese country. The two areas, with different underlying rock formations are very different -= as different as chalk and cheese.

We know that Mr Seymour up at Freith Farm was a cheese maker. The Freith area, on the main road to Potterne and Devizes, has recently sprouted road signs which tell of its name but it is and always was a part of the Parish of Market Lavington. It comes as no surprise that we have some of the tools of the cheese making business in the museum. We have called this item a curd agitator.

Curd agitator at Market Lavington Museum - about 1900

Curd agitator at Market Lavington Museum – about 1900

The agitator was used to help separate curds from whey. It has a long handle not shown in the photo.

This probably dates from around the start of the 20th century

The Kings Arms

March 5, 2014


Until a few years ago Market Lavington had three pubs. The Kings Arms on High Street, opposite the newsagents closed some five years ago and the area is now used as a number of houses, some in the pub itself and others in what was the pub yard.

Today we are looking at a photo which dates from a time when the village had at least five pubs – the early years of the twentieth century. It shows the Kings Arms pub along High Street.

The Kings Arms, Market Lavington - an early 20th century photo

The Kings Arms, Market Lavington – an early 20th century photo

The most obvious part of the picture is the pub sign.

The landlord was Fred Simpson

The landlord was Fred Simpson

That’s handsomely written in raised writing and it carries the name of Fred Simpson. We assume he was the landlord but sadly the name crops up nowhere else in our annals. We have no other record of the man at the museum and he doesn’t appear on censuses.

So, the inevitable question – is there anyone out there who can tell us more about Fred Simpson?

Next to the former pub is the cottage many of us refer to as Kyte’s Cottage – and even that is having a new dwelling built in the back garden at the moment. In this photo it has a sign on it which we can just make out.


Mr Whitchurch’s name was on the shop next to the Kings Arms

Part of the name is hard to read, but we know that the man who had this shop was Mr Whitchurch but he was a druggist. However, in 1911 his married daughter was a newsagent and confectioner and his widow still lived in the house. Mr Whitchurch had died in 1906.

We think the photo dates from before 1911 but again, we’d appreciate any further ideas from our readers.

Easterton Street in Edwardian times

February 23, 2014

This image was recently sent to us. We’d like to thank Judy for her kindness. In fact those of us most closely associated with the museum remain utterly delighted with the support and enthusiasm so many people show with regard to the museum.

Here is the photo.


Easterton Street in Edwardian times

Easterton has changed in the last 100 years or so. The thatched cottages on the left have gone and have been replaced with more modern dwellings. However, the long pale coloured terrace still remains although the lean-to on this end has gone. The houses further down look much the same as well although once upon a time there was a smithy down towards that end of the street.

Back in Edwardian days there was hardly any need to separate pedestrians from other road traffic. There are no pavements. But this doesn’t stop the people from coming out to get in the photo. There’s a fine crop of Easterton folk on the left.


Sadly, but not unexpectedly, we can’t name these people, nor those across the street standing on the edge of the stream.


Despite dredging and other improvements the stream still floods from time to time. It has this winter. The front of January’s Easterton Echoes is about flooding.


Easterton Echoes – January 2014

The photo was taken on 4th January 2014.

Another photo of floods was taken back in the year 2000. This shows a similar, albeit broader view to the old Edwardian photo.


Easterton in the year 2000

We can see that the terrace has gained a hip end to the roof and then we can see the red brick gable end of a building which replaced a thatched cottage.

When Politics Mattered

February 16, 2014

Of course, the title is not meant to suggest that politics doesn’t matter these days, although many people clearly think that our political leaders are something of an irrelevance. Maybe it was the events of 100 years ago which started the downward spiral. The First World War, some say, was an argument amongst three cousins who led different countries and that they were unconcerned about the mass slaughter. Whatever the cause was, I doubt you’d see, these days, a political gathering like this one.

Conservative demonstration at Market Lavington - early 20th century

Conservative demonstration at Market Lavington – early 20th century

This early postcard is clearly labelled Conservative Party Demonstration, Market Lavington and appears to have a date of July 2 1901.


Or is that a poorly written ‘nd’ and it just says July 2nd? We are confident it was definitely early in the 20th century.

The word ‘demonstration’ these days tends to have negative connotations. We demonstrate against things. We’d suspect that this demonstration was in support of the Conservative Party.

When it came to an election, what looks like a majority of people in the throng would not have been enfranchised. Children, of course, did not have the vote and neither, then, did women. But in these pre mass entertainment days people would go to hear a speaker and we think there was one of them. He’s not holding the attention of children who seem to have spotted the photographer, but most adults appear to be intent on something off to the right.

There are background items which are of interest. One is a motor vehicle.

A motor vehicle - perhaps a first for Market Lavington

A motor vehicle – perhaps a first for Market Lavington

If this really was 1901 that could have been the first car seen in the area.

No doubt the beer tent did a roaring trade.

The beer was supplied by Simonds of Reading

The beer was supplied by Simonds of Reading

Simonds ales and stouts are mentioned. They were a long established brewery in Reading. Maybe they had used traction engine and huge wheeled trailer on the left of the tent.


Traction engine and trailer – Market Lavington folk would have been used to such vehicles.

We can’t name any of the people.

A small portion of the crowd

A small portion of the crowd


Back in that Edwardian era, Devizes (including Lavington) was a marginal constituency.  In 1895 Edward Goulding held the seat for the Unionists (Conservative) but he lost out in 1906 to the Liberal, Francis Rogers. The seat returned to the Unionists in 1910 when Basil Peto became the local MP.

For political neutrality, we’ll mention that other parties, representing all shades of opinion put forward candidates at elections – and, praise be, we are free to vote for whoever we like amongst those standing.

Market Lavington from the hill

February 15, 2014

In un-glorious Technicolor

Market Lavington is oft times called, ‘The Village under the Plain’. Salisbury Plain, and in particular Lavington Hill looks down on the village and since photography began it was an obvious location to set up a camera and take a picture. There are many variations on this theme with photos taken in different years, at different times of year and pointing in different directions. We have quite a collection of such photos, many of which were offered for sale as postcards throughout the twentieth century. Today we are looking at one which really is just a bit fanciful. It is a hand colour tinted version of a photo. We have it dated at early twentieth century.

Lavington from the hill - an Edwardian hand coloured postcard

Lavington from the hill – an Edwardian hand coloured postcard

Our photographer – who was probably originally Alf Burgess, has stood half way up Lavington Hill. An artist has added colour to the photo, possibly based on notes written down when the photo was taken or possibly he has just guessed what colours to use. It is, presumably, high summer, turning into autumn for a corn field is being harvested and appears to have sheaves of corn in it. It looks as though people on the right of the scene are standing them up in stooks.

The colours do not ring quite true. Houses in the village look too bright and white. The foreground appears too dark and black. But let’s applaud the effort to add colour to a scene at a time when photography was only in monochrome.

A part of Mr Walton’s empire?

February 7, 2014

Arthur Walton came from Reading. His wife, Emily (née) Archer came from Brill in Buckinghamshire. They married in 1890 and by the time of the 1891 census they lived at Lavington House, White Street, Market Lavington. The Waltons had taken the shop so presumably they lived on site. They were still over the shop in 1901 but by 1911 they had moved their home to Ivy Lodge on High Street.

Mr and Mrs Walton extended their empire quite widely. The range of premises in Market Lavington became a department store with an overhead cash railway system – little wooden capsules propelled along wires to a central cashier. Waltons had the shop at Easterton at one time. The ghost sign on the shop showed his name when photographed in 1974. Forty years on his name has washed away and Draper shows through from before Mr Walton’s time.

But was this another branch of Mr Walton’s empire?

Definitely Mr Walton's shop - but where?

Definitely Mr Walton’s shop – but where?

Our records say this is Mr Walton’s Market Lavington shop in 1907. We do not actually recognise where in Market Lavington this is.

Could it be in Pewsey where we think Arthur Walton had a branch.

We have, in the past, featured an image we have in the museum which was said to be in Pewsey (click here). We argued that the photo shown then was Market Lavington. Could a clerical error have occurred? Is this the Pewsey photo?

Do get in touch if you can help us.

The Horse Bus

January 26, 2014

Edwin Potter’s horse bus service connected Market Lavington to the rest of the world. Until the railway arrived in 1900, the only way out of our parish was by road and the only regular bus service was that provided by Mr Potter. This photo is a lovely portrait of the bus. We do not know just where it was taken. Clearly it is on a country lane. It is dated at around 1900.

Edwin Potter's Market Lavington to Devizes bus in about 1900

Edwin Potter’s Market Lavington to Devizes bus in about 1900

Our photo is clearly a copy of one in an album.

We can see the bus in the charge of two horses. They may have been deemed a little flighty as blinkers are being worn.

By 1900, Mr Potter was finding this service uneconomical but it looks as though he would earn money as a carrier. His bus roof is heavily laden.

Operating the bus tended to be a family affair. That could be Edwin, himself, driving and possibly a son leaning on the bus at the back.

There is a rather attractive young lady making use of the bus service.

A bus passenger

A bus passenger

She must have decided she’d be in the photo.

The arrival of motor buses ended the reign of the horse on this service. By 1911 Edwin was earning his keep on his farm.

An ancient gramophone record

January 18, 2014

What would we do without the Williams family of Easterton? Many of our lovely exhibits, given in recent years have come from that family whose ancestors held the Manor of Easterton and also Eastcott. A recent gift has been gramophone records which it is believed the family have owned from new. Here is just one example from the collection.

An early Berliner Gramophone record now at Market Lavington Museum

An early Berliner Gramophone record now at Market Lavington Museum

This record is one of Emil Berliner’s Gramophone records. Emil Berliner invented the name gramophone for his disc system which was a rival to the Edison phonograph. His first records were really only toys and came out in the 1880s. By the 1890s Berliner had moved on to larger, 7 inch records like the one shown and in 1898 he set up a British company.

For the first three years of production, records did not have a paper label. The required information was embossed and scratched on the surface of the newly pressed disc. The record, above, tells us it is a ‘talk’ – John Morton on Trousers and that it was recorded in London. It also gives us the date of the recording.

The date of the recording - 28th August 1900 when Queen Victoria was still on the throne

The date of the recording – 28th August 1900 when Queen Victoria was still on the throne

And there we have the date for this one – 28th August 1900.

We are still trying to find out more about these records. They play on a standard ‘old’ 78 rpm gramophone, but they seem to need to revolve at a slightly lower speed. Most wind up gramophones have a controller which allows the speed to be varied.

It has to be said that Mr Morton’s talk on trousers is comedic in nature and very hard to understand. Brass band music comes out quite well.

The records themselves have spent years in a barn and need gentle cleansing.

The museum doesn’t own a gramophone itself and seeks one with appropriate local provenance. Can any local help by offering us one? Lack of space means a portable would be most suitable, but others can be considered.

Gye’s Yard in 1906

December 31, 2013

These days an interesting development of houses is known as Gye’s Old Yard. But of course, Gye’s Yard was where the family firm of builders, carpenters, blacksmiths, wheelwrights etc. actually worked

Gye's Yard, Market Lavington in 1906

Gye’s Yard, Market Lavington in 1906

This charming photo shows some of the workforce, and maybe the odd visitor too, in 1906. The various carts are of course a delight. Maybe an expert out there can tell us more about them.

But now the people. From left to right we have:


John Merritt Senior – the father of the John Merritt who was bandleader in Market Lavington for 60 or more years. The Merritts ran a blacksmithing business just across Broadwell from Gye’s Yard.


John James was a carpenter and may well have been employed by the Gyes.


Walter James was John’s son – he had married Elizabeth Gye in 1904 so was a family member by marriage. He was a baker and had the premises now occupied by the Post Office in Market Lavington.


Charlie Burnett was the Gyes wheelwright. He originally came from Easterton.


Tom Gye. Gyes often confuse by not being known by first names. We think this is the present Tom’s grandfather – boss of the firm.


This one is just recorded as J Gye. We think it is Joseph who later became head of the family firm.


Fred Burgess who worked as a labourer and at some time became a butcher.


Seymour Buckland was a painter who lived on High Street in Market Lavington.

It seems appropriate that members of the Gye family should mark the end of another year. Our museum owes so much to them for their support and generosity.