Posts Tagged ‘1920’

Union Business

November 13, 2014

The letter we look at today was sent to Holloway Brothers of West Lavington. It was sent by a trade union and concerns expected rates of pay in 1920.

Letter from Fred Burgess of the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives

Letter from Fred Burgess of the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives

The letter was sent by Mr F Burgess of Easterton on behalf of the Lavington Composite Branch of the National Federation of Building Trades Operatives. It appears to be stating that rates of pay should be 1/8 per hour for skilled workers with painters to get 1/7 and labourers 1/5. In present money that’s between about 7p up to slightly more than 8p per hour. Also the working week should be 44 hours.

Fred Burgess was born in about 1884 in Market Lavington. His father, George, was a shepherd or farm labourer. By 1901 Fred was a building labourer. In 1908 he married Edith Price and the couple settled in Easterton. In 1911 Fred called himself a carpenter.

We do not think the couple were blessed with children which may have given Fred time to get involved with his union.

We wonder if our builders actually got what they wanted. The employers seemed to favour slightly lower rates of pay and a 50 hour week.


Wedding of Mary Ethel Cooper and William Blake

October 29, 2014

We have recently been given copies of three photos of the wedding of William and Ethel (as she was known). The wedding took place in 1920. One of the pictures, with the largest group of guests we have seen before and you can click here to see it.

Today we’ll look at a smaller group and ponder on who the people might be.

Wedding of Bill Blake and Ethel Cooper - Market Lavington - 1920

Wedding of Bill Blake and Ethel Cooper – Market Lavington – 1920

The location is clear here. It is taken outside Number 2 Parsonage Lane which was the home of the Cooper family. We know the bride and groom and we also know that the young bridesmaid was a niece of the groom. We do not know who the other bridesmaids were.

But perhaps we are most interested in the two older men. We guess they are the fathers of bride and groom – but which is which. The one on the right looks utterly fed up with the whole business. If he is Jacob Bolter Cooper, father of the bride, he’d have been about 80 by then. That was a good old age back in 1920. He may well have had enough. John Blake, father of the groom was around 70. The mothers of both parties to the marriage were already deceased.

So, once again, we appeal for help in identifying, particularly the two men.

Aunty May with Granny Potter

July 8, 2014

That is what is written on the back of a photo we have at Market Lavington Museum, which was given to us by folks in Canada.


Added to that we have a rough date of 1920 and a location, which is the garden at 6 Parsonage Lane.

Now the front of the photo.

Helena May Potter with her mother Mary Ann Potter (née Pike)

Helena May Potter with her mother Mary Ann Potter (née Pike)

Aunty May – her full name was Helena May Potter – is fairly instantly recognisable as one of the mainstays of the village for many a year.

She was an established infant teacher by the time she married in 1929. Her husband was Bill Elisha and she became the legend that was Mrs Elisha. But here we see her with her mother, Mary Ann Potter. Mary Ann was born Mary Ann Pike but as far as we know she was not in any way closely related to another village stalwart of the era, George Pike. According to the census of 1911 Mary Ann may have come from Milton near Pewsey. We are a tad uncertain about her family history though.

Close up on the ladies

Close up on the ladies

May was born in 1904. She was never a big lady but barely looks to be 16 in that image. Perhaps the photo is more like 1918.


Clyffe Hall

June 14, 2014

Today you’ll have a chance to visit the gardens at Clyffe hall as the annual fete organised by St Mary’s Church takes place there. You’ll be able to indulge in all the usual fun of the fair, snap up bargains in books, plants, bric-a-brac etc. You’ll be able to enjoy refreshments that suit you and of course we’ll be there with a chance for you to see some of those wonderful ads from Harry Hobbs shop which we saw on yesterday’s blog.

But we’ll turn the clock back to about 1920 today and look at some photos probably taken by Bill Elisha.

image002 There’s some of the hall and lawns.

image004 A view over the lake.

image006In the gardens.

We look forward to seeing many of you there.

An Agricultural View from the Church

November 26, 2013

This view from the church tower is looking more or less due south.

A view from Market Lavington Church - looking South. The photo was taken in about 1920.

A view from Market Lavington Church – looking South. The photo was taken in about 1920.

In the foreground, at the bottom of the picture, there are houses, sheds and gardens on Church Street. Beyond them we get into the agricultural lands. The sharp eyed might note a moderate flock of sheep in the large field in the centre of the photo.

But perhaps what takes the eye most of all are the haystacks. That is rather a generic name for quite probably there are stacks of corn there but whatever material is in them, these wonderfully engineered and then straw thatches structures just aren’t seen any more. What a complement they were to the English rural landscape – so much more attractive than today’s giant walls composed of huge bales.

Just off shot to the left is Knapp Farm house. The stacks are a part of the wealth of that farm.

And in the background the land slopes up to Salisbury Plain.

This photo has the hallmarks of a Burgess photograph. We believe it dates from about 1920.

Another fine wedding photo

October 28, 2013

Weddings are well photographed these days and many were in times past. This photo, a particularly lovely one, was recently sent to us by Virginia in Australia. The photo shows a bridegroom who was a relative of hers.

The bride was Mary Ethel Cooper who was more usually called Ethel and the groom was William Blake.


Mary Ethel Cooper was born around 1880. She was the daughter of Jacob Bolter Cooper who we have met before on this blog (Click here). The family had premises on Parsonage Lane and it is possible that this photo was taken at that location. The wedding took place in 1920.

William Blake lived in West Lavington, but William was a Londoner by birth which was around 1890.

After their marriage the couple lived on The Terrace, Market Lavington in one of the cottages along the path above Northbrook. As far as we know they lived there for all of the rest of their lives. Both died in the 1950s and are buried in the churchyard at Market Lavington.

Because the photo came from a member of the Blake family, we know more about them. Virginia wrote the following.

Identified by my parents – Dad being the only son of Jimmy Blake (James Robert Christopher Blake)

Back Row

4th from left – Mary Blake (sister of William the Groom). The children in the photo belonged to her. She never married. They are Margaret Blake & Henry Blake.
2nd from right Jimmy Blake my Grandfather.
I suspect that the two people sitting behind the little girl are John & Mary Blake – William’s parents but that is a guess.
William had three sisters in all – Mary already identified, as well as Charlotte (Lottie) & Eva. They are probably in the photo but I can’t identify them.  The bridesmaid sitting between the children could possibly be a sister?
William had another brother John but I believe he died fairly early on.
My Dad seems to think that the lady next to Jimmy Blake is Dad’s mother Lilian (nee Cutting) although my Mum seems to think not.  Jimmy & Lilian were married in 1924 (4 years after this wedding) so I suppose it could be my grandmother. Jimmy was only 5 ft 1 ½ inches & Lilian was 5 foot exactly. This fits in with the photo.

It seems likely to us that Jacob Bolter Cooper is in the photo for he was still alive at the time, aged about 80. His wife, Ethel Cooper’s mother, had died some years earlier.

We believe that William and Ethel had one daughter, Lilian. Lilian Blake married Percy Wilkins in 1948 and we know that Percy and Lilian lived on the Terrace as well.

Market Lavington Museum and Virginia have the same hope now – that other people in the photo can be identified.

Do contact us if you can tell us any more.

Carnival Time – about 1920

February 17, 2013

This photo has recently been sent, along with others, by a museum friend in the antipodes. It shows a carnival procession lining up on Easterton street.

A Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Week carnival lines up in Easterton - about 1920

A Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Week carnival lines up in Easterton – about 1920

We can start with the identified person. The girl on the extreme right, wearing a fairy costume is Ena Gye. Ena was born in 1911 and it is from her that we date the picture as around 1920.


Ena Gye – born 1911, Market Lavington

As we can see, the photo is sepia in style but we can often see people better in black and white. There could be other recognisable people in the picture although fancy dress and make up can make recognition harder.


It’s hard to recognise people in fancy dress!

There’s a case in point. The witches clearly have masks. Doe’s the man holding the tiller of the bath chair really have that facial hair? Maybe the best hopes for identity are the Japanese lady or maybe the wagon on which a part of the farm name can be seen.

One person in the photo is peering out of a cottage doorway. Perhaps there’s somebody who might recognise him.

Can anyone recognise the Easterton resident peering out from his doorway?

Can anyone recognise the Easterton resident peering out from his doorway?

There he is, behind the bear.

We think this is a glorious photo so many, many thanks to Amanda for sending it to us.