Posts Tagged ‘1926’

Mary Ann Potter

May 14, 2016

We couldn’t take every bit of personal memorabilia at our small museum, but some items belonged to a special enough person that we feel we’ll squeeze them in. This little book is a case in point. From the outside it might look a bit special with its pocket and handles. It looks rather like a small handbag.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

Is it a bag? No! It is a small book.

If we look at the spine we see it is a Book of Common Prayer along with Hymns Ancient and Modern.

It's a Book of Common Prayer

It’s a Book of Common Prayer

It is the name inside which adds real interest to this item.

It belonged to M A Potter

It belonged to M A Potter

This copy was the property of M A Potter who attended St. Mary’s Church, Market Lavington and is dated twice. The fancy hand has marked it July 1926. A more prosaic date just says 19-7-26.

But who was M A Potter? She was Mary Ann and she had been born around 1881 in Milton Lilbourne near Pewsey. In 1903 she married Edwin Potter, a Market Lavington man whose father operated a horse bus between Market Lavington and Devizes and also served as a carrier and had a small farm on which Edwin worked.

The Potters were blessed with a number of children. The first was Helena May born in 1904 at their home on Parsonage Lane. Helena May went on to become a teacher and in 1929 she married Bill Elisha. This made her Mrs Elisha the hugely long term infant teacher in the village.

So Mary Ann joined a well-known local family and then gave birth to perhaps the best known of them all. We are pleased to have this small memento of her life.

Mary Ann died in 1951, just making her three score years and ten



The Guides of 1926

April 23, 2016

According to the records, the Lavington guides held a camp at Paignton in 1925 and 1926. This must have been an enormous adventure for the young ladies. The journey is more than 100 miles and probably took the best part of five hours in a heavily laden charabanc. Such journeys by road would have been way beyond the norm for people 90 years ago. No wonder the charabanc and its load was recorded photographically.

The Lavington Girl Guides of 1926 went camping at Paignton

The Lavington Girl Guides of 1926 went camping at Paignton

We can’t identify the location but we do wonder if the charabanc was a part of the Fred Sayer fleet. We don’t seem to have a driver (who would surely have been a man) in sight.

And not surprisingly we don’t recognise the guides who came from the wider Lavington area.

The guides. Do you recognise any of them?

The guides. Do you recognise any of them?

The luggage is all stowed at the back of the vehicle.

Luggage for the camp

Luggage for the camp

We would, of course, love to know more.

Mabel Sayer – property owner

February 21, 2016

Mabel Sayer, the lady who dresses up for carnivals, we know but we were not aware, until some old documents were recently given to us, that Mabel was a property owner in her own right.

This conveyance has recently arrived at the museum.

Front page of conveyance - Mabel Sayer buys a cottage

Front page of conveyance – Mabel Sayer buys a cottage

Legal documents tend to be a nightmare to read but this one starts:

This conveyance is made the twenty sixth day of May one thousand nine hundred and twenty six between William John Mann solicitor and Harry Victor Case bacon curer both of Trowbridge in the county of wilts hereinafter called ‘the vendors’ of the one part and Mabel Sayer the wife of Frederick Herbert Sayer of Market Lavington in the said county of Wilts hereinafter called ‘the purchaser’ of the other part

The property was a cottage near the old Independent Chapel on High Street which looks to have had a Mrs Potter as a tenant and others had right of entry to use the well.

Fred Sayer, Mabel’s husband had run the bus company locally. Both of the Sayers were well known locally. We imagine that at this time they had money to invest. No doubt there were potential advantages in having investments in Mrs Sayer’s name.

Clean Hands for Health

July 10, 2015

This is another metal detector find from the old recreation ground. It is, or was, a pin badge (the pin is missing) with the simple message, ‘clean hands for health’.

Clean hands for health badge (ca 1926) found in Market Lavington

Clean hands for health badge (ca 1926) found in Market Lavington

It has real meaning today, with the outbreaks of antibiotic resistant hospital infections but in fact this badge dates from around 1926. It was a Lifebuoy Soap merit award for children. Lever Brothers, who made Lifebuoy, started this campaign in 1926 in an attempt to educate children about dirt and germs and to wash their hands ‘before breakfast, before dinner and after school.’

No doubt a youngster, out on the old ‘rec’ was sad to lose the badge but maybe they had kept their certificate which came with it.

Ninety years (almost) on, we find that health workers are wearing a badge called a biovigil which detects washing gel and changes colour and beeps when hands need washing.

Technology may change. It seems that reminders regarding cleanliness do not.

Peggy and Tony

May 8, 2015

Some of you may be following the Jack Welch Diaries – our museum blog about Jack’s service in World War One, 100 years after the event and written in Jack’s own words, either in his diary or in the more substantial letters home.

Jack was born and raised in Market Lavington and after the war he settled here again and raised his own children, Peggy and Tony in the village.

Peggy later married Tom Gye and is well known as the founder of our museum. We owe a huge debt to Peggy and so do you, the reader. Without her there would be no museum and no museum blog. Peggy herself was never a computer user but we reckon she’d be thrilled to know that her work now reaches a worldwide audience. We know that in the last thirty days people in 57 different countries of the world have accessed this blog. Yes, Peggy would be delighted with that.

And we were delighted when we were given another photo of Peggy recently, this time with her little brother, Tony. The photo has a bit of damage, but the important areas are fine.

Peggy and Tony Welch in about 1926

Peggy and Tony Welch in about 1926

We estimate this photo as dating from about 1925/26 and we are fairly confident the location is the garden at Spring Villa.

The owners of the original actually had not recognised the people and had no particular connection with the Welch family. They did not know why they had this particular photo.

We are always pleased to see photos of our founder, albeit this is 60 years before the museum opened its doors.

The Spring in 1926

October 24, 2014

Market Lavington was a very different place in 1926. The built up area was much smaller with no housing in the Grove Farm area, no Bouverie Drive or Canada Rise, no Fiddington Clay estate to name but a few.

And the road that linked Market and West Lavington – The Spring – was just a country lane devoid of housing as shown in this card.

The Spring, Market Lavington on a card posted in 1926

The Spring, Market Lavington on a card posted in 1926

Actually, there is one house in this photo, almost lost in the trees on the right.


Chimneys in the trees.

Chimneys in the trees.

We can just see a bit of the roof and the chimney stacks. From this we know that we are looking towards Market Lavington. Here’s the present day view.

A present day view shows the same chimneys

A present day view shows the same chimneys

We can still see the chimneys on that house on the right which help to fix the location and we can see we are just by the entrance to Lavington School with Pavilion Gardens and then the Alban Estate

It’s a totally different scene

The back of the card posted in 1926

The back of the card posted in 1926

The old postcard was posted from Littleton Panell in 1926.

Peggy and Rufus

July 1, 2014


Today we have another picture of Peggy Welch – recently given to us. In this photo she is not alone. She has a friend called Rufus with her.

Peggy Welch and the dog Rufus in 1926

Peggy Welch and the dog Rufus in 1926

Rufus, as we now see, was a dog. This photo dates from 1926 when Peggy was four or five.

Bearing in mind that old rule about not working with children or animals, the photographer has done well for both girl and dog are paying attention to the camera man.

We believe this photo was taken in the garden of Spring Villa for that was a Welch owned property and, whilst Peggy had been born in neighbouring Meadow Cottage, the family did move into Spring Villa.

Nursery Rhyme Characters

August 19, 2013

This photo dates from about 1925/6 and shows local children dressed as nursery rhyme characters.

Market Lavington children as nursery rhyme characters in about 1925/26

Market Lavington children as nursery rhyme characters in about 1925/26

This photo comes from the memories of Sybil Perry who was a Market Lavington resident from 1924 to 1994 and who continued to be a village enthusiast until her death in 2010.

Standing from left to right we have: Bessie Gye, Connie Case, Iris Burgess, John King, Philip Phillips, Edith Potter, Ted Drury, Victor Gibbons and Joan Bullock.

In front from the left we have: Mary Notton, Hubert Francis, Henry (Harry) Cooper – he’s the one lying down), Tom Gye and Sybil Baker – who became Sybil Perry.

As this is a long, thin photo we’ll split it into two so that we can see the youngsters that bit better.



Any of these people still alive will be well into their 90s by now. Maybe there are descendants who could tell us more about them.