Posts Tagged ‘1950s’

A car from the past

August 23, 2015
A bubble car at Northbrook in the 1950s

A bubble car at Northbrook in the 1950s

This wonderful bubble car is parked up at the top of Northbrook. The houses in the background are on Northbrook Close.

The car is a little three wheeler – an Isetta. Because of shape and size they became known as bubble cars. They were an Italian design but in the UK were manufactured under licence – at one time in Brighton.

The first cars appeared in Italy in 1952. Cars of this type gained favour in Britain due to some quirky British ruling which could have the car registered, officially, as a motorbike. It could then be driven with a motorbike driving license and pay the road fund for a motorbike. Yet it could carry two people and their luggage.

We believe manufacture ceased in this country in 1962.

Our photo dates from the mid 1950s. The photo was given to us by the man who owned the car. He drives a more conventional car these days but still rides a motorbike from time to time.


July 27, 2015

Yes, literally scrubbers! That is to say people scrubbing the floor and here they are.

Volunteers scrub the floor at Easterton Village Hall

Volunteers scrub the floor at Easterton Village Hall

The location is the Easterton Village Hall and we assume this was in the 1950s. I’m afraid we are not all that good on people but we reckon Tom Jefferies is on the left in the front row and Gladys Windo is fifth from left in the back row. We rather hope and expect that other names will now be forthcoming.

We note, with interest, that it was clearly the right thing for men doing this work to have the standard collared shirt and tie and a waistcoat. Some had covered up a bit with overalls.

What a lovely picture of the way things were done in the past.


It doesn’t take long to get a list of names. Thanks Jim

Back row L-R,  Alec Chapman, John Dodge, Peggy Chapman, Gladys Moore, Gladys Windo, Mrs Snook, Mrs Sheppard extreme right back row, wife of baker Jim Sheppard.

Front row L-R, Tom Jefferies, Brenda Holmes, Lizzie Smith, Mrs Hale, Mrs Luker, Fred Burgess, Wilf Moore.
Peggy is Alec Chapman’s daughter. Gladys is Wilf Moore’s wife. Brenda Holmes is Lizzie Smith’s niece.



Easterton Fete – about 1955

July 6, 2015

It comes as a shock to some of us to realise that 1955 was 60 years ago. Only people in the retired generation remember it and for the majority of the population, 1955 is old history.

And perhaps with black and white photos it looks quite like ancient history as well. This photo of a fete parade in Easterton is a case in point.

Easterton fete parade in about 1955

Easterton fete parade in about 1955

Even the actual location is a bit difficult to sort out for the most immediate building, on the right has been demolished. Of course, the pub sign does give the place.

The location give-away. The photo was taken outside The Royal Oak.

The location give-away. The photo was taken outside The Royal Oak.

It is the Royal Oak which still operates in Easterton, but without the benefit of that building out the front. Beyond the sign we see the steeply pitched roof of the Manor House– a sure sign that this building was formerly thatched.


At the front of the fete parade we have a sandwich board man with a poster advising people not to miss the fete and a town crier complete with bell.

Further back we have clowns, flower girls and all sorts.


We are hoping, of course, that some of these people enjoying a bit of dressing up will be recognised.

So it is over to you once more.


A car from the past

May 29, 2015

There’ll be plenty of people who wish they owned this car now!

Betty Gye's first car in about 1953

Betty Gye’s first car in about 1953

This is an Austin Seven, once one of the commonest cars on the roads of Britain. It probably dates from around the mid-1930s and would have been approaching twenty years old when this photo was taken. The car belonged to Betty Gye when she was learning to drive. Betty lived with her parents at Homestead Farm on Drove Lane and that’s where the photo was taken.

We can note that the crank handle, used to start the engine is in place. We can also see that there was just the one windscreen wiper on the driver’s side. A pair of hinges at the top of the window tell us that the windscreen could be opened to allow a free flow of refreshing air through the car. We think this car has a non-original extra in the shape of a wing mirror.

We know the car was first registered in Brighton.

We also know that by the time Betty took her test, her dad decided that this car was unfit. As we understand it there was a lack of some basics, such as brakes that were truly effective. So dad got rid of this one and purchased a much newer car for his lucky daughter.

If the car still existed in 1960 then the advent of the MOT tests (which then only applied to cars over ten years old) would almost certainly have seen this car making its one way journey to the scrap heap.

Work at Homestead Farm in the 1950s

May 27, 2015

Homestead Farm was just beyond where St Barnabas School now stands up Drove Lane which was once called Cemetery Lane because there is a cemetery just below the school.

It was never a big farm but in those days of yore a small farm could support a hard working family. The hard working family at Homestead Farm was a branch of the Gye family and in the photo below we can see that they had enough income to run to a tractor.

A loose hay stack looks to be under construction, brought in on a trailer which might well have had a horse drawn origin.


Work at Homestead Farm in the 1950s

Work at Homestead Farm in the 1950s

We believe Mrs Gye is standing on the stack whilst her husband is forking material up from the side. A girl, probably Betty, is standing on the right in front of the stack.

There is clearly a small pen surrounding a hen house. This doesn’t look much like egg production for sale, but rather for domnestic need. In the distance we look over the top of Northbrook, down into the village centre and then up to Lavington Hill and Salisbury Plain.

Let’s take a closer look at the tractor and people.

That looks like a grey Fergie!

That looks like a grey Fergie!

The tractor looks like a Fergusson, the ubiquitous tractor of its day and these days often called ‘little grey Fergies’. Mr Wordley, the agricultural engineer based in the Market Place certainly sold these tractors but possibly not this one with registration LWV 899. That would seem to have been first registered in Wiltshire. Possibly somebody can tell us a date of manufacture.

It isn’t the clearest of photos but it certainly tells us a story of times past.

At Easterton School

May 4, 2015

Easterton had its own village school which was situated along the High Street between the church and the road junction. It closed in 1971 when the new St Barnabas School was built to replace the Victorian schools in Market Lavington and Easterton. The Market Lavington School still exists as a community facility but Easterton’s place of learning was demolished and housing now occupies its site.

Recently we have seen a number of items and photos about Miss Gladys Windo who had been head at the school and here we see her again, in that role and surrounded by pupils and friends at the school.

Miss Windo surrounded by pupils and friends at Easterton School

Miss Windo surrounded by pupils and friends at Easterton School

Miss Windo stands next to a boy clutching something to his chest and at the moment she is the only person we can name. We do not know, and nor do the people who gave us this photo, the occasion or the reason for it let alone any certainty as to date. We suspect it is 1950s from the style of clothing worn.

So once again we appeal for help. Can you name any of the people in the picture? Are you one of them? Can you recall the occasion?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Miss Windo – mark III

April 27, 2015

We have met Miss Gladys Windo, head teacher at Easterton School and also the same Miss Windo, member of the St Barnabas Parochial Church Council.

Today we see Gladys in a third role.

Gladys Windo of Easterton in the Civil Defence Corps

Gladys Windo of Easterton in the Civil Defence Corps

Here we see Gladys in her Civil Defence Corps uniform – and she is looking very intimidating although she is remembered as a kind and caring lady.


Her badge is clear to read and shows a lion with a crown over it with the words around it and Wiltshire below.

The Civil Defence Corps existed from 1949 to 1968 and at its height there were some 330 000 personnel involved.

Judging from the age of Miss Windo in the photo, we think this is from the early days of the Civil Defence movement.

From what we know of the former Easterton teacher, it was typical of her to volunteer for a role in which she might have to take charge of helping people through an emergency situation.

Arthur Wordley

April 7, 2015
Arthur Wordley - agricultural engineer in Market Lavington from 1950 to 1960

Arthur Wordley – agricultural engineer in Market Lavington from 1950 to 1960

Arthur was the fourth child of Fred and Rose Wordley. He was born in 1910 and at the time of the 1911 census Fred was described as a hay binder and the family lived in Coate near Devizes.

We have not delved into Arthur’s early life but in 1950 he set up his agricultural engineering business in Market Lavington. It was called A S Wordley and Co Ltd.

The business was based in and around the Market Place in Market Lavington. It used premises which had been vacated by Fred Sayer’s bus company.

His expanding company bought up many of the cottages which lined the east side of the Market Place and demolished them to provide more space. They also used the Woodland Yard site and made access possible for large equipment by removing the carriage arch entrance.

Many people in the village and surrounding area earned their livelihood at Arthur’s company. He expanded into Swindon as well.

Arthur died in 1960. The business continued, changing its name to the Wiltshire Agricultural Engineering Company in 1967.

This year, at the museum, there will be a display of photos about agricultural engineers from the 19th and 20th century in Market Lavington.


A crowd in the Green Dragon – 1950s

March 2, 2015

The Green Dragon remains the one pub in Market Lavington. The reduction from four to one such establishment in the past 30 years reflects a change in habits more than anything else.

Back in the 1950s, despite competition from the other three ‘locals’ the Green Dragon could still pull in a crowd as this photo shows.

A crowd in the Green Dragon in the 1950s

A crowd in the Green Dragon in the 1950s

It all looks very homely although it is very predominantly male.

We have names, but sadly not clearly attached to actual people. Here are the names we have. There may be somebody out there who can attach them to the people shown.

Amongst those standing we have Fred Davis, Bimbo Boulton, Charlie Golding, Freddie Hurle, Albert Potter, Len Francis, Harry Andrews and Bill Sainsbury.

Seated people include Ben Hurkett, Ed Potter and Mrs Bert Potter.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Broadwell revisited

January 23, 2015

It isn’t too far-fetched to say that without Broadwell (which locals tend to say as two words – Broad Well) there would be no Market Lavington. A good reliable source of water is an essential for places of human habitation. Without water, life cannot be sustained. So no wonder Broadwell is regarded as a very important place and has been much photographed. Today’s photo dates from the 1950s.

Broadwell - early 1950s

Broadwell – early 1950s

We can notice straight away some age old problems. Things get thrown in the water. We can also see that back then part of the area was fenced against animals. This, allegedly, helped to keep the water for humans more wholesome. It’s quite hard to see but at the extreme left the village pump can be made out. It’s rather a shame we no longer have that. Behind the pump and in front of the thatched ‘Broadwell Nook’ is a chestnut paling fence which surrounded a small wooden area. In the 1960s the trees were deemed unsafe and they were felled. A children’s play area was built on that patch.

To the right we can see sheds which were associated with the Merritt’s smithing and agriculture business.

This will be a reminder for many older residents and ex-residents of this crucial part of our village.