Posts Tagged ‘1909’

A birthday mug

September 2, 2016

Ethel Mary Gye was the first born child of Joseph and Lucretia (née Redstone). Her birth was marked by the purchase of a specially decorated mug and this mug is now in Market Lavington Museum.

Ethel Mary was born in 1909 and her parents lived on White Street in Market Lavington so this mug is now a genuine antique. In terms of value, though, it is next to nothing, unless you happen to share name and birthdate with our Ethel Mary.

It’s a pretty little mug with no maker’s mark. It looks as though it spent its life in a china cabinet. It hasn’t seen much, if any, actual use.

1901 birthday mug for Ethel Mary Gye

1901 birthday mug for Ethel Mary Gye

As we see, the writing spreads too far round the mug for a single photograph so here’s a more side on view.


Here we can see the Gye surname and see that the birth date was December 12th in 1909.

Mugs like this were fairly common amongst slightly more well off folks. We have three of them at the museum.


Pond Farm Camp kitchen

June 17, 2016

Pond Farm Camp was used by Commonwealth men during World War One but before that it was used as summer training camps, often for territorial soldiers. Many of the postcards of the camp show row after row of tents. This one has concentrated on a camp kitchen

Pond Farm Camp kitchen - 1909

Pond Farm Camp kitchen – 1909

First of all, this is Pond Farm Camp – the card is captioned.


We can get some idea of cooking facilities.

Is this some kind of stove?

Is this some kind of stove?

Large, two handed pans were used, but we can’t make out quite what the stove is but something in the way of a chimney seems to be attached.

This card was posted in Market Lavington on May 15th 1909.

The message on the card

The message on the card

It was sent to a Mrs J Collins of Clunton which according to A E Housman in his Shropshire lad is…

Clunton and Clunbury, Clungunford and Clun,

Are the quietest places under the sun.

The information really tells us that three thousand men were drilling together. This makes one suspect there were more kitchens than just this one.

Pond Farm Camp – 1909

December 2, 2015

In the Edwardian era – the start of the 20th century – Pond Farm, on Salisbury Plain above Easterton, was a working farm but it was owned by the War Department and used by them for summer camps for a variety of different regular and territorial regiments.

Once the post card era arrived, local photographers realised they had a good source of income, making and selling cards which showed camps. There seem to be dozens of such photos and we have shown several on this blog before. Here’s another.

A Pond Farm Camp in 1909

A Pond Farm Camp in 1909

The sheer scale of the camp makes this quite a substantial township. It would have more than doubled, albeit temporarily, the population of Easterton. No doubt the authorities looked to the locality to provide some food and fuel – all cooking had to be done up there on the wild, windswept downs. Local farms may well have been able to provide fodder for large numbers of horses and of course, Lavington Station was one of the rail heads for these soldiers arriving in Wiltshire. These camps must have brought additional prosperity to the area.

This card has been sent although probably not until the soldier had returned home.

The basic message sent to Miss Jones

The basic message sent to Miss Jones

The postmark is Chester and it was sent to a Chester address (although Buckley was actually in Flintshire) by Jack who wrote it on 17th May 1909 and stated this was the Welsh Royal Mounted Brigade Camp (Shropshires).


The Cooper Family at New Farm

January 14, 2015

New Farm is, or rather was, one of the farms on Salisbury Plain, in the parish of Market Lavington. To reach New Farm now you’d have to go to the top of Lavington Hill and then, if the flags weren’t flying, continue on the track across Salisbury Plain. After a mile and a bit you’ll find the track passes through a bit of a wooded area. New Farm was in that wooded area on the right hand side of the track. We have looked briefly at New Farm before and this page,  has a photo of the area taken in 2008.

Today we are looking back at a photo believed to have been taken in 1909. The person who gave it to the museum believes it is New Farm although it has to be said, we have doubts because stone like that big blank wall is made of just isn’t found on Salisbury Plain. However, the family shown is a Market Lavington family so the picture is definitely worthy of being seen.

The Cooper family, possibly at new Farm, Market Lavington.

The Cooper family, possibly at new Farm, Market Lavington.

This is the Cooper Family (possibly) at New Farm, Market Lavington in about 1909. Seated at the right is James T Cooper, born around 1865. Next to him is his wife, Sarah Jane (née) Taylor also born around 1865. Behind them in the dark suit is their son, George Thomas Cooper born about 1887. The other people are not known, but on the 1901 census (at New Farm) the other children of James and Sarah are Mary, born 1889, Walter, born 1891, Charley, born 1894 and Jacob (named after his grandfather) born 1898.

Sadly, nobody alive is going to recognise New Farm. It is now over 100 years since it vanished. But we remain hopeful that people just might be recognised.

Pond Farm Camp – 1909

December 2, 2014

There are many different views of army camps at Pond Hill in about 1909. These summer camps for territorial soldiers had been a part of life for some time. But by 1909 there was an awareness that the Pond Farm area was to become part of a permanent military range. The summer camps would be over. Local photographers recorded the scenes and sold them as cards, like this one.

A 1909 photo of Pond Farm Camp in Easterton

A 1909 photo of Pond Farm Camp in Easterton

This is certainly not the best card we have ever seen, but the message on the back paints a picture which certainly adds to the feel we can get for a Pond Farm Camp.


The message on the card

We can see this card was posted in Market Lavington on 12th May 1909. The writer (W H Edwards) was not the best speller but he conveys his meaning and the address to send to for replies. The message reads (retaining Mr Edward’s spelling):

Dear May

Just a line to tel you I am all rite there is plenty of fun hear there his about 20 thousand of us hear. With love from H Edwards xx

So, there were twenty thousand men up on Salisbury Plain above Easterton and Market Lavington.  It sounds like they were enjoying themselves. No wonder they had an impact on the two parishes. And no wonder post card producers produced cards to sell to those twenty thousand temporary residents.

Before World War One

October 20, 2014

This year, and quite rightly, there has been much talk about World War One – and we’ve done our share of that. But of course, parts of our area were militarised before the Great War – that war which was supposed to end all wars – began. In an attempt to keep body and soul comfortably together, our Manorial Lord had sold his lands on Salisbury Plain to the War Department. Tenant farmers continued to user the land for several years but at Pond Farm, now in Easterton parish, an annual summer camp for reservists took place.

In the Edwardian era the whole area was closed and it became a permanent military training area. Local photographers made sure the last of the fairly open summer camps were well recorded. And here we have one such photo.

Soldiers at Pond Farm Camp in 1909

Soldiers at Pond Farm Camp in 1909

This card shows signs of its past life as a piece of pub décor. It has been in the museum for some years but had an earlier home at The Drummer Boy which has now closed.

The card gives a real sense of the vast openness of Salisbury Plain. If it wasn’t for the soldiers, the area would really look empty. Somehow that distant horse and rider on the horizon adds to the sense of huge space.

The year is clearly given on the card. It is 1909. The regiment here are obviously ‘of horse’. Regular summer campers were a regiment known as the London Rough Riders. Here the troops look anything but rough as they maintain a neat formation led by their officers.

The vast open space of Salisbury Plain

The vast open space of Salisbury Plain

What a lovely image and it can remind us that when the war started, just five years later, the horse was still the mainstay for haulage and transport. Sad to say horses suffered very badly in the war, just as the men did.

A Souvenir of Market Lavington

November 24, 2013

Today we have a postcard sent home by a soldier visiting a camp on Salisbury Plain. It is a multi-view card.

Postcard entitled  Souvenir of Market Lavington

Postcard entitled Souvenir of Market Lavington

The five views shown are of the church, exterior and interior at the top, the church from the recreation ground in the middle, Church Street and Clyffe Hall Hill.

The post card has a Pond Farm Camp post mark

The post card has a Pond Farm Camp post mark

The card was post with a half-penny stamp and it carries a Pond Farm Camp post mark. The day and month are clear – August 10th. We think the year is 09 – 1909.

Card message - from brother to sister.

Card message – from brother to sister.

The message is typical of the era – basically saying I’m still alive with a little bit of news. It appears to be sent by a chap called Irvine.

The card was in Walton’s series; presumably this was the Mr Walton of the Lavington Supply Stores.

Recipient - Ruth Ann Briggs of Halifax, Yorkshire

Recipient – Ruth Ann Briggs of Halifax, Yorkshire

The recipient was Miss R A Briggs. Ruth Ann Briggs was about thirty at the time, a single lady living with her mother and great aunt. She was a worker in worsted manufacture. The family came from and lived in Halifax in Yorkshire.

She had a younger brother called Irvine Briggs so we expect it was him who sent the card.


The Pond Farm Camp Ambulance

July 6, 2013

Pond Farm Camp was used for ‘summer holiday’ exercise camps by many different regiments. Huge quantities of men spent weeks or fortnights ‘enjoying’ the uncertain delights of Salisbury Plain. In amongst a large number of men there were bound to be illnesses and injuries (and the occasional death). Such events provided training opportunities for the medical staff and the ambulance brigade.

Today we are featuring the third Pond Farm Camp photo which came from a descendant of William Davies from Llanfihangel in Breconshire. William features in one picture. Another, of church parade shows men with Red Cross arm bands. This third one shows the ambulance.

Pond Farm Camp, Easterton in abouit 1909

Pond Farm Camp, Easterton in abouit 1909

Well there’s a reminder that in these pre World War One days we were also, largely, pre motorised transport.  The ambulance is powered by four horses with each pair having a driver. We can also get a feel for the bareness of Salisbury Plain.

It is almost inevitable that we don’t know the regiment or the soldiers.


image004 image005


It is a very outside chance that somebody will recognise any of the men – but hope springs eternal.

Do get in touch if you recognise regiment or men.

Church Parade

June 28, 2013

Today we look at another recently given photo of Pond Farm Camp. This time the men are all in uniform and the photo is captioned ‘Church Parade’.

Church Parade at Pond Farm Camp, Easterton. This was probably in 1909

Church Parade at Pond Farm Camp, Easterton. This was probably in 1909

Our guess is that this was in 1909. It was in that year that Alf Burgess, Market Lavington’s professional photographer took many photos of life at Pond Farm Camp. This may well have been inspired by plain commerce. All those men were going to want a postcard to send home to loved ones and what better than one which showed them. But Alf may also have been inspired to record what might have been a feature of local life which was about to pass into history. Salisbury Plain had just been sold to the War Department and the old summer camps were likely to give way to much more permanent military occupation.

Once again, we have a wild hope that some of the men might be recognised, or somebody out there might be able to suggest the regiment they belonged to,

Was this the ambulance brigade? The men are wearing a cross on their arm.

Was this the ambulance brigade? The men are wearing a cross on their arm.

These chaps seem to have Red Cross badges on their arms but the cap badges may be too indistinct for identification.

But do get in touch if you are able to help.

The Man in White

June 25, 2013

Pictures of Pond Farm Camp have featured from time to time on the blog. This was the military encampment up on Salisbury Plain above Easterton. Market Lavington Museum has recently received further photos which portray something of camp life.

The photos all pre-date World War 1. This was a time when regiments of regulars and volunteers had summer camps. No doubt they were training camps but at times they look a bit like a summer holiday for the lads. That is certainly the case in this photo.

A group of men at a Pond Farm Camp probably about 1909.

A group of men at a Pond Farm Camp probably about 1909.

Here we have a group of men relaxing outside a Pond Farm Camp bell tent. Let’s look at the chap in white.

William Davies hailed from Llanfihangel in Breconshire

William Davies hailed from Llanfihangel in Breconshire

He looks a picture of elegance, from his hat right down to his footwear – slippers. His mode of dress seems entirely unsuited to life at Pond Farm which was famed for its mud during World War 1.

We know who this man is. He’s William Davies and he came from Llanfihangel in Breconshire. It’s a bad choice of name and location for finding him on a census. There are dozens and dozens of people called William Davies and quite a few Llanfihangels as well. However, his granddaughter, who sent us the photo has some knowledge and thinks he may have been working in London in about 1908/9. Virtually all of our photos of Pond Farm Camp date from 1909, so William may have been a Londoner at the time this photo was taken.

But he had grown up on the family farm in Wales and in 1912 (probably) he emigrated to Australia. His descendant who sent us the photo lives in Canberra.

We do not know the names of the other men but two of them have a military cap on, with a cap badge. We are hoping that an expert out there might recognise the badge.



It would be a very long shot to have anybody actually recognise the men, but do get in touch if you can, or if you can identify the cap badge.