Posts Tagged ‘1924’

George Pike advertises

July 25, 2016

George Pike was one of Market Lavington’s butchers and he placed an advert which appeared on the front page of the same paper we featured, with a Lavington and Devizes Motor Services advert, earlier this month. Click here to see that post.

The paper dates from September 1924 and here is the Pike advert.

Advert for George Pike the butcher from September 1924

Advert for George Pike the butcher from September 1924

As we see George Pike had branches in both Lavingtons but he was a Market Lavington man. At least one descendant still lives in the village.

His main business was meat, of course. Canterbury lamb refers to Canterbury in New Zealand.

Perhaps it is George’s willingness to buy eggs that makes this most interesting. This was clearly a time when egg production was on a smaller scale than it is these days. We know, for example of three different small poultry farms on the sands. Mr Phillips kept poultry at the top of Northbrook, George O’Reilly had the poultry business at Cherry Orchard and the Misses Chalmers had the Crossways Poultry Farm. There would have been others as well as many a householder keeping a few laying hens.

Mr Pike was inviting all such people to sell him their eggs and he offered top market prices.

It is always interesting to note phone numbers. This butcher had Lavington 26.



Devizes and Wiltshire Advertiser – September 18th 1924

July 4, 2016
Devizes and Wiltshire Advertiser - September 18th 1924

Devizes and Wiltshire Advertiser – September 18th 1924

The front page of this paper certainly lives up to its name. It advertises all sorts. But the big advert is for the Lavington and Devizes Motor Services Ltd.


Lavington and Devizes Motor Services Ltd. advert

The trips out for the coming week are listed. There are three trips to Bournemouth at nine shillings (45p) return. It sounds laughably cheap but that nine shillings represents just about a day’s pay for a labouring man. If he had a wife and children we could be approaching close on a week’s wages for the transport to Bournemouth. You got a long day out for your money.

The trip to Wembley was more expensive – but then it is a longer journey and that had a very early start from Lavington.

The special for that week was Frome cheese show – then as now this was a popular event.

What a lovely advert.

Church choir outing

July 3, 2016

Let’s start by looking at the back of a postcard for that has the caption.

A rather battered postcard

A rather battered postcard

We can see the postcard is battered but we can also read that this is St Mary’s Church choir outing 1923 or 24

The image caption

The image caption

And here’s the actual picture.

Fred Sayer Charabanc with choir members probably at Salisbury

Fred Sayer Charabanc with choir members probably at Salisbury

Bus enthusiasts will, as is so often the case, be disappointed that the photographer has concentrated on the people and not the front end of the vehicle. This photo was in a recently acquired envelope labelled F Sayers Photographs so we assume it is one of Fred Sayer’s buses with the hood down for an open air experience. This is the kind of conveyance we call a charabanc.

The destination was clearly Weymouth. We think the photo was taken in Salisbury.

We could comment on the size of a church choir over 90 years ago – and on the number of youngsters. This, of course, was pre almost anything that gets called entertainment these days. It was enjoyable to go and meet your mates at choir practice and then there was the almost amazing excitement of the treat – like this one to Weymouth.

There’s a fair chance we won’t get any names here. Even the youngsters on the trip would now be over 100 years old (The baby on board would be about 94). But let’s take a closer look just in case.

image007 image008


A prize draw ticket

September 29, 2015

We have published this ticket before on the museum blog.

1924 draw ticket

1924 draw ticket

We are grateful that somebody thought to save such a thing just over 90 years ago. We make sure we still do the same today so here we present a similar ticket, 2015 style.

2015 draw ticket

2015 draw ticket

Sadly the old ticket had no price, but we can be sure it was nothing like a pound – the price of the current one. But the information we have about prizes shows a huge difference.

What would people have done with a fat lamb in 1924? To be honest, we don’t know but we can be equally sure that it could be seen as an unlikely top prize in 2015 even though many have freezers these days and could, in fact, make use of it.

Then as now, sponsors gave prizes because they supported the causes. Back in 1924 a cash prize would surely have been very welcome, but golf for four at Castle Combe just couldn’t have been on the agenda. How would people have got there? It was probably all but impossible. Obviously there could not have been helicopter rides. The first real helicopter took to the skies in 1936.

The prizes in 2015 reflect the leisured nature of 21st century life. The prizes, apart from the cash, are not things people need but maybe are very much wanted by some.

The Guides of 1924

March 30, 2015

Yes, there were guides in the area more than 90 years ago. In fact they were the West Lavington Guides, but we believe Market Lavington girls will be in these photos. Amongst Market Lavington girls we know had joined the |Guides by this time there were Edna Mills, Evelyn Bullock, Doris Colman, Winnie Cooper, Mary Spiers, Winifred Mundy and Winifred Kurle.

The local guides at their new hut in 1924

The local guides at their new hut in 1924

All of the girls look happy to have their own hut.

A happy bunch of Guides

A happy bunch of Guides

We cannot name people on these photos and rather hope you will be able to do so. These would all be over 100 if still alive.

The hut, by the way, was in West Lavington. These days, the guides, which reformed in 1975, meet in the Old School in Market Lavington.

A Tombola Ticket

March 3, 2015

It was back in 2011 that we published a list of tombola winners for the Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Effort of 1923. The first prize was a fat lamb offered by Mr Watts.

The same event was offered again for the 1924 effort. This is being written at a time when the British National Health Service is being criticised for long waits in accident and emergency centres, bed blockers, giving the wrong kind of flu jabs etc. It’s worth reminding ourselves that until the formation of our NHS, most people relied on somebody else contributing to a charity if they needed health care of any kind. If you needed your GP it cost money. If you needed an ambulance it cost more. If you needed hospital care it was even more expensive. The truth is we are lucky to have a very good health service paid for by national taxation of one kind or another so that we get free treatment when needed.

Back in 1924 to get a bit of help with the cost of medical treatment people bought tickets for a tombola. They hoped to win a good prize and all profits were administered by a charity to assist ill people in need. And here is one of those tickets.


1924 Tombola ticket for Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Effort

1924 Tombola ticket for Market Lavington and Easterton Hospital Effort

It’s called a tombola but it sounds much like we’d call a raffle. The first prize was that fat lamb – one imagines butchered, but still a problem in 1924 with no freezers for storage.

The prize draw must have been a lengthy process with about a hundred prizes. Presumably notices in the village told hopeful prize winners what time to turn up at the Parish Hall.

That’s an interesting little relic of times past.

Oh! One good thing about those old days was that people had a lot of fun raising money.

A bill for bricks

November 20, 2014

Bricks were made in Market Lavington for at least 200 years and were made up until the Second World War. In the twentieth century, the ownership of the brickworks had passed to the Holloway family at West Lavington. What we have here is a bill for bricks, purchased by one of the Holloway brothers. It is dated February 1924.

A bill for Market Lavington bricks in 1924

A bill for Market Lavington bricks in 1924

Interesting to see that 90 years ago 600 best hard bricks cost £1-19-0 (that’s £1.95 in present money). For the same amount today you might, at best, get about 4 bricks.

The billhead is interesting, partly for what is not shown. It’s 1924, a big company, but no telephone number seems to be available. Huge reliance was placed on a next day postal service.

But it is also interesting to note that hollow partition blocks were a speciality. These were blocks or bricks with a hole right through them. They have been plain versions of the plinth brick we showed earlier this month.

Most interesting, though, is the roundel at top left.

The mark of the National Scheme for Disabled Men

The mark of the National Scheme for Disabled Men

We were only 6 years after the end of World War One and there were many disabled men in the country following that conflict. It seems that Holloway Brothers did their bit to help such men – or at least they were part of a scheme to do so. This scheme was announced, by the King, in 1919 and actually, the roundel is topped off with a crown. This is hidden under the stapled fold on our document.



Doctor Donald Hood

October 27, 2014

We were recently asked if we knew anything of Dr Hood, born Market Lavington, who featured in a book about the Duke of Rutland. We had to find out more, so here is what we now know.

We started by finding Donald on the 1901 census.

Donald Hood found on the 1901 census

Donald Hood found on the 1901 census

So there is Donald W C Hood, consulting physician at 43 Green Street, Westminster aged 53 born Market Lavington, married to Alice and with several children.

This enabled us to find Donald on the 1851 census.

Donald Hood, aged 3 in 1851

Donald Hood, aged 3 in 1851

And there he is, aged 3 and living in Clapham in South London but born in Lavington. Donald’s father, William Charles was a doctor of medicine in practice and his mother was Jane. Donald had a younger sister and brother, both born in Lavington. The younger brother has been given the forename of Willett and this offers a clue to the family. Jane, his mother was born Jane Willett and she married William Charles Hood in the Devizes district (so probably at Lavington) in the summer of 1846. Jane, we assume, was a relative of Robert Willett who owned the Fiddington Asylum.

The following extract is from .

Fiddington House at Market Lavington was originally intended for pauper patients. In 1829 the justices licensed Robert Willett, a non-medical man, for the reception of about 72 patients; the medical attendant visited the house twice a week. The visitors reported the house to be clean and comfortable and that restraint when used was of ‘the mildest and most simple nature’. At a later date the Lunacy Commissioners reported that the use of restraint was habitual. The original asylum consisted of detached buildings mostly of one story, some with stone floors and without ceilings. Considerable overcrowding occurred around 1846 when about 200 patients were received although the premises were only licensed for 175 patients. Charles Hitchcock received the licence in 1850 and soon after the opening of the county asylum the pauper patients were transferred. The number of private patients for which Fiddington was licensed in 1862 was 24 male and 26 female. Reports on the house became more favourable and in 1882 the accommodation was described as plain but comfortable at an average cost of £100 a year.

We believe that Dr Hood, the father of Donald was that Medical attendant who worked with Robert Willett. Further evidence comes from

Sir William Charles Hood

b.1824 d.4 Jan 1870 MD St And FRCP Edin FRCP (1863) JP

Charles Hood was born at Lambeth, the son of a doctor, and sent to school at Brighton. He was admitted to Trinity College, Dublin, at the age of seventeen, but acquired his professional training at Guy’s Hospital, qualifying in 1845 and taking the St. Andrews degree in the year following. He held an early appointment as resident physician to a private asylum, Fiddington House, Devizes, but was soon made the first medical superintendent of Colney Hatch. In 1852 he obtained the same post at the Bethlem Hospital, where for ten years he worked indefatigably for the improvement of the patients’ conditions, and particularly for the segregation of the criminal insane. He resigned on appointment as a Lord Chancellor’s visitor in lunacy. He was elected treasurer of Bridewell and Bethlem Hospitals in 1868, the year of his knighthood. He died in the treasurer’s house at Bridewell.

So, Donald was born in Lavington whilst his father was medical superintendant at the Fiddington Asylum.

But Donald causes confusion by not being clear about his birth place. The 1871 census has his birth place just recorded as Wiltshire. In 1881 the enumerator has written Potten. In 1891 his birthplace is given as Fiddington. Maybe Donald was confused because until the 1870s Fiddington had been part of West Lavington and various land transfers took place which saw it transferred to Market Lavington. Donald would not have remembered his time in Wiltshire and may not fully have grasped the changes in parish boundaries which affected his birthplace.

However, in 1911, the first census to be actually written by householders, Donald has made a clear entry of Potterne as his birthplace.

Donald was certainly involved in medical controversy as highlighted by his views on appendicitis. This article comes from the Ryde Social History Group at

In 1910 the English surgeon Dr Donald Hood caused considerable worldwide interest with his assertion of the infectious nature of appendicitis.

A distinguished surgeon, who has had great experience of appendicitis, has been suggesting in the columns of the Lancet that the complaint is contagious. He points out how much more frequent and severe are cases of appendicitis than they used to be, and how often the members of the same household are seized with it in quick succession, and surgeons are attacked by it after operating on patients suffering from this complaint. It is now suggested that there must be a particular microbe that causes appendicitis, which on this hypothesis is set up by contagion. It seems rather difficult to suppose that there is a microbe which acts only on the appendix, but now that the suggestion has been made, pathologists will be on the look-out for the hypothetical microbe, and if it really exists it should not be long before it is discovered. Unhappily, the surgeons of the day are afforded numerous opportunities of detecting it by the frequency of operations for the removal of the appendix.  Source: Isle of Wight Observer 18 June 1910

We now turn to the part Donald played in the strange story of the Duke of Rutland and we have an article published in the Leicester Mercury for October 25th 2012

When historian Catherine Bailey was invited to chronicle the history of the Duke of Rutland’s family during the First World War, she uncovered a secret which had remained hidden for more than 60 years. Reporter Peter Warzynski talks to the author about her discoveries…
When John Henry Montagu Manners, the 9th Duke of Rutland, died of pneumonia on April 22, 1940, he was remembered as a soldier who fought with comrades on the Western Front.
His name and rank formed the centrepiece at the chapel at Belvoir Castle as a tribute to his virtuous war record.
But the Duke had spent his final days locked in a dank room at the castle, frantically trying to erase any record of his involvement in the Great War.
In all, 249 men from the Belvoir estate were killed fighting on the frontline in France between 1914 and 1918. The Duke was never among them.
Despite leading the Remembrance Day parade through Rutland year after year and presiding over the ceremony, his supposed military service was a sham – but not one of his own making.
His mother, Violet Manners, the 8th Duchess of Rutland, used her considerable persuasive powers and position to approach Lord Kitchener and Sir John French, the Commander in Chief of the Western Front, to keep her son from the fighting.
Eventually, she rigged a series of medical examinations and dashed any hopes John had of battling in the trenches in Ypres with his regiment – the 4th Battalion Leicestershire (the Tigers).
In the years before he died, ashamed of his sham military service, the Duke became reclusive as he obsessed over the family’s meticulous records.
His aim was to erase any reference to his military past and rewrite the family’s history – and he succeeded.
However, the truth did not come to light until historian Catherine Bailey began combing through the records in 2008.
“The archive was prist-ine,” she said. “It went all the way back to the 12th century and included tens of-thousands of documents.
“But when I began studying them, I noticed gaps.”
On April 22, 1940, the Leicester Mercury reported “with great regret that the Duke of Rutland, head of the ancient family of Manners, died at his seat”.
The article paid tribute to the 53-year-old, stating: “He went to the front in February 1915, serving with the rank of Captain.”
Catherine said: “The family had no idea John had altered documents and letters and rewritten history. It was only when I unearthed a small trunk containing more letters I was able piece together the clues and unravel what had happened.”
Catherine first entered the Muniment Room at Belvoir Castle – where the family archives are kept – in 2008, after the Duke and Duchess of Rutland agreed to let her research the family for a book about the First World War.
“My original idea was to write about a great family during the Great War and the Duke and Duchess agreed to take part. But after just a few months, I noticed things were missing from the records,” she said
Catherine found three gaps – 1894, 1909 and 1915 – in the otherwise perfect chronological archive.
“It soon became a detective story,” she said.
The first gap related to the death of John’s brother, Haddon.
“When John was eight his brother died, but the reason for the death was not what the family believed had happened to him.”
Catherine stops there. “I don’t want to give too much of the book away,” she explains.
“John was banished from Belvoir Castle on the day of Haddon’s funeral and spent most of his childhood years estranged from his parents.
“That event is the key to his character and shaped the rest of his life.”
Haddon’s death shook Violet, his mother, who made no secret of the fact he was her favourite.
But the tragic event had further implications. Were anything to happen to John, she would lose her money and privileges when her husband – the 8th Duke – died.
His title and estate would be handed over to his half-brother, leaving Violet penniless.
Catherine believes the Duchess’s efforts to keep her only son from the frontline were motivated by neurosis rather than love.
“She did everything she could to prevent him from fighting on the frontline, because the most likely outcome of being on the Western Front was being killed,” she said.
It was true John was a Captain in the 4th Battalion, Leicestershire Regiment before it was absorbed into the 46th North Midland Division.
He was appointed aide-de-camp to General Edward Montagu-Stuart-Wortley, a role which included instructing soldiers in Britain.
However, when he was sent to Ypres, France, in 1915, much to his frustration, he only witnessed the Great War from the safety of Goldfish Chateaux, the Army’s regional headquarters.
John’s exclusion from the carnage of the frontline was due to his mother’s relentless interference.
Violet wrote letters to GHQ (General Headquarters) and General Wortley and even pressured her daughter into seducing a man whom she thought would be able to influence senior officers.
She finally turned to family physician Dr Donald Hood to give false evidence about John’s health, claiming he had recurring dysentery.
“The more I got to know him, the more his story became a tragic one,” said Catherine. “For the first year of the war he did all he could to fight with the men of the 4th Leicesters.
“But it was his mother’s meddling and constant undermining that finally got him returned home.
“He spent the rest of life ashamed and his final years locked away trying to erase his past.”
The Secret Rooms, published by Penguin, is out on November 1.

Donald Hood died in 1924 in the London area.

Merritt Brothers – Farriers

September 15, 2014

Today we show another of our receipts kept by Holloways of West Lavington and now findable at Market Lavington Museum. Today we look at a receipt issued by Merritt Brothers who were farriers and general smiths.

Merritt Brothers receipt from 1924

Merritt Brothers receipt from 1924

We can see that the Merritt brothers were J. H. and T Merritt and each had smithing or farriery qualifications. We can also see that they operated in Cheverell as well as in Market Lavington.

The year for this receipt was 1924 and the Merritts clearly relied on word of mouth for trade. No phone number is given, probably because the blacksmiths didn’t have one at that time.

The Merritts had premises alongside Broadwell which no doubt gave them a plentiful supply of water for quenching red hot iron.

It looks as though it was quite expensive for Mr Holloway to keep his horses shod. We don’t have any farriers at the museum but we think that most of the work done had been ‘removes’ and ‘shoes’. Removes have been charged at 1/1½ each and shoes at twice that – 2/3. In decimal money this equates to about 6p for removes and 12p for shoes. But of course this was in 1924 and the equivalent cost today would be about £9 for removes and double that for shoes.

Mr Holloway spent £6-15-0 (£6.75) in this quarter. That’s about £1000 at today’s rates.

We love these receipts at the museum. They provide a link to past times, to businesses long gone and to skills no longer practised in the village.

Peggy Gye remembered

May 27, 2014

It doesn’t seem possible that it is now more than four years since our museum founder and, for many years the curator, died. But it was back in 2010 that Peggy left us. We, at the museum, do not forget her or the legacy she has left for all Lavington lovers to enjoy. But let’s for a moment enjoy seeing Peggy again – albeit as a little girl. This was at a time that very few people in the village will now remember for it was 90 years ago.

Peggy Welch in 1924

Peggy Welch in 1924

Yes, this was Peggy in 1924 wearing her sensible shoes, smart white socks, a knitted dress and a big bow in her hair. She carries a soft toy. Has its tail come off? Or maybe that is something else altogether in Peggy’s left hand.

Of course, Peggy was the Peggy Welch, the little daughter of Jack and Flossie. Jack had served his country (and had the war wounds to prove it) right through World War One. His parents kept the letters he sent home and Jack put together a scrapbook of photos and other items. In addition we also have his very brief hand written notes in the diaries he kept.

It is our plan to release letters and diary entries on days 100 years after they were originally written in a separate blog ( The framework for this blog is in place and there may be a couple of scene setting posts, but it won’t really start until August.

And we can thank Peggy again, for it was down to her to preserve her dad’s artefacts as well as all those other village items she amassed.